The 2009 survey examines the challenge of ensuring sustainable post-conflict security.
The Small Arms Survey is an independent research project hosted by the Graduate Institute. Its flagship publication, a review of global small arms issues and themes, has been published annually since 2001. This year’s report, sub-titled Shadows of War, focuses on two specific themes. The first looks at the challenges inherent to ensuring security after the formal end of war. The second deals with small arms transfers, including the value of authorised trade, national controls, and weapons tracing.
As part of the first theme, this year’s Small Arms Survey devotes four chapters to issues surrounding post-conflict violence and security. It starts with an introductory section outlining the key challenges in this area, which it then goes on to illustrate through three case studies. The example of DDR in Aceh is used to question the pertinence of the reintegration model to middle-income countries, while Afghanistan serves as a vivid illustration of the difficulty inherent in building security while simultaneously creating a new state; it also exemplifies why the “post-conflict” label may not always be appropriate after the formal cessation of hostilities. Finally, the third case study examines perceptions of security in Southern Lebanon following the 2006 Hizbollah-Israel war. This case study notes that in an environment where the root causes of political violence persist, the population is cautious about government gun control yet surprisingly supportive of state security institutions.
Finally, the report underlines the potential value of tracing weapons and ammunition in conflict and post-conflict settings, though it notes that, despite modest resource implications, the international community has yet to embrace this measure.
The Small Arms Survey collaborates closely with the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP) of the Graduate Institute. It has an international staff with expertise in security studies, political science, international public policy, law, economics, development studies, conflict resolution, and sociology. It works closely with a worldwide network of researchers. The Survey is an independent monitor of national and international governmental and non-governmental policy initiatives on small arms. It is a resource for governments, policy-makers, researchers, and activists and provides information and research on small arms issues. Finally, it acts as a forum and clearinghouse for the sharing of information as well as the dissemination of best practice measures and initiatives dealing with small arms issues. Previous editions of the Small Arms Survey have focused on different aspects of these weapons including Risk and Resilience, Guns and the City and Counting the Human Cost. The project also publishes occasional papers, special reports, issue briefs and working papers.