Under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (AMBC) and the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), signatory States are obliged to destroy all their anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions. However, this destruction of treaty-banned weapons constitutes only a small portion of the immense task of stockpile destruction. Ammunition found in stockpiles may be banned, obsolete, dangerous or unusable. The problem is particularly significant in countries where basic rules of ammunition safety management are not followed.

Explosions in ammunition storage areas can cause hundreds of casualties, significant damage to infrastructure and can contaminate wide areas by scattering munitions and chemical residue over previously safe land. Over time, degradation may result in the leakage of extremely sensitive and harmful chemicals that may react together, resulting in fires and detonations.

A stockpile being destroyed in Iraq

The GICHD studies and communicates best practices in stockpile destruction, the effects of ammunition ageing and, at the policy level, observes international conventions and guidelines that regulate the use and storage of explosive ordnance. The Centre’s assistance extends to all countries planning to destroy ammunition stocks but lacking the expertise to do so. In addition to providing advice on techniques, methods and technologies in the destruction work, the GICHD’s services include ammunition inspections, life cycle planning and recommendations on measures for safety and security for people and infrastructure.

The GICHD has developed an ASM Toolset to assist organisations and states in establishing and maintaining a good ammunition safety management (ASM) and stockpile destruction regime.