Despite the efforts of the international community to minimise the risk of explosions in ammunition storage areas, they occur frequently with great loss of life and damage to property, livelihoods and the environment. Stockpiles of ammunition can become hazardous to their environment through becoming unsafe or ending up in the wrong hands due to proliferation to organisations with malicious intent, including utilising ammunition as the main charge in improvised explosive devices (IED).

To reduce and prevent these risks, it is vital to establish an efficient ammunition safety management (ASM) regime and attendant stockpile destruction programme. Effective ammunition safety management saves lives and livelihoods and helps to preserve the environment.

ASM and stockpile destruction are interlinked and mutually beneficial processes. ASM detects potentially unsafe ammunition to be destroyed while stockpile destruction reduces the amount of potentially dangerous stock.

The concerns over the extent and hazard of explosive remnants of war (ERW) in global waters prompted GICHD to develop international standards and share best practices in support of underwater EOD operations.