United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)

UNIDIR provides the Member States of the United Nations with objective research and creative thinking on disarmament and security. UNIDIR works in close cooperation with the Department for Disarmament Affairs and other parts of the United Nations Secretariat, as well as governments, research organizations, universities and NGOs. Through its research projects, publications, small meetings and expert networks, UNIDIR promotes creative thinking and dialogue on the disarmament and security challenges of today and of tomorrow. The activities of UNIDIR fulfil the Institute's mandate to assist diplomatic negotiations and disarmament efforts, to engage the arms control and disarmament community on a variety of current topics, and to be a leading voice in emerging security debates.

UNIDIR works on the basis of the provisions of the Final Document of the First Special Session of the UN General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament and also takes into account relevant General Assembly recommendations. The work programme is reviewed annually and is subject to approval by the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, which also functions as UNIDIR's Board of Trustees. The Director reports yearly to the General Assembly on the Activities of the Institute. UNIDIR's mandate is found in Article II, paragraph 2 of our Statute: "The work of the Institute shall aim at: a) Providing the international community with more diversified and complete data on problems relating to international security, the armaments race and disarmament in all fields, particularly in the nuclear field, so as to facilitate progress, through negotiations, towards greater security for all States and towards the economic and social development of all peoples; b) Promoting informed participation by all States in disarmament efforts to ensure greater international security at a progressively lower level of armaments, particularly nuclear armaments, by means of objective and factual studies and analyses; c) Carrying out more in-depth, forward looking and long-term research on disarmament, so as to provide a general insight to to the problems involved and stimulating new initiatives for new negotiations."

  • Civil Society
  • Civilian Small Arms Control
  • Community Conflict Resolution
  • Coordination of International Assistance
  • DDR
  • Defence Institutions
  • Gender
  • Humanitarian Assistance
  • Humanitarian Protection
  • Judicial and Legal Reform
  • Law Enforcement Institutions
  • Mine Action
  • Public Administration and Government Strengthening
  • Security Sector Governance

Civilian Small Arms Control

The work of UNIDIR has focused on addressing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, with particular reference to the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. UNIDIR projects have contributed to global efforts to control small arms and light weapons by assisting the implementation of international instruments on this issue, by providing research and policy advice to Member States and international organizations, and by exploring new ways to control the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
Between 50.000 to 1 million CHF per annum
  • Capacity and development training
  • Policy advice
  • Research and policy development
Description of activities
The project “Capacity Development for Reporting to the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms” (ongoing) develops assistance tools for states to report on measures taken to implement the PoA. The project “European Action on Small Arms. The project “Cost Benefit Analysis of Small Arms and Light Weapons Destruction” (August 2005–October 2006) identified the actual costs of storage and security for small arms and ammunition, compared these with the costs associated with their destruction, and developed a model to assist governments in the formulation of control policies.
The project “International Assistance for Implementing the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons” (ongoing) researches the global and regional dynamics of international assistance for implementing the PoA with a view to establishing a global mechanism to identify requests for assistance and communicate these requests for donors. The project “Capacity Development for Reporting to the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms” (ongoing) develops assistance tools for states to report on measures taken to implement the PoA. The project “European Action on Small Arms, Light Weapons and Explosive Remnants of War” (October 2004–October 2006) mapped and analysed global and European Union activities and programmes relating to small arms, light weapons and explosive remnants of war, and developed a framework to address these issues and formulated recommendations for the European Commission. The project “Cost Benefit Analysis of Small Arms and Light Weapons Destruction” (August 2005–October 2006) identified the actual costs of storage and security for small arms and ammunition, compared these with the costs associated with their destruction, and developed a model to assist governments in the formulation of control policies. The project “The Scope and Implications of Developing a Mechanism to Prevent Illicit Brokering in Small Arms” (December 2005–June 2006) defined and analysed licit and illicit small arms brokering activities, compared existing brokering regulations, identified different possible mechanisms for regulating brokering activities and compared the merits of these alternatives. The project “Coordinating Action on Small Arms Mechanism Database” (November 2005–June 2006) researched, organised and input information and documents on small arms and light weapons for each country profile for the CASA database, with particular reference to the implementation of the PoA./ global
The project “International Assistance for Implementing the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons” (ongoing) researches the global and regional dynamics of international assistance for implementing the PoA with a view to establishing a global mechanism to identify requests for assistance and communicate these requests for donors. The project “Capacity Development for Reporting to the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms” (ongoing) develops assistance tools for states to report on measures taken to implement the PoA. The project “European Action on Small Arms, Light Weapons and Explosive Remnants of War” (October 2004–October 2006) mapped and analysed global and European Union activities and programmes relating to small arms, light weapons and explosive remnants of war, and developed a framework to address these issues and formulated recommendations for the European Commission. The project “Cost Benefit Analysis of Small Arms and Light Weapons Destruction” (August 2005–October 2006) identified the actual costs of storage and security for small arms and ammunition, compared these with the costs associated with their destruction, and developed a model to assist governments in the formulation of control policies. The project “The Scope and Implications of Developing a Mechanism to Prevent Illicit Brokering in Small Arms” (December 2005–June 2006) defined and analysed licit and illicit small arms brokering activities, compared existing brokering regulations, identified different possible mechanisms for regulating brokering activities and compared the merits of these alternatives. The project “Coordinating Action on Small Arms Mechanism Database” (November 2005–June 2006) researched, organised and input information and documents on small arms and light weapons for each country profile for the CASA database, with particular reference to the implementation of the PoA./ global

Civil Society

UNIDIR’s research aims to promote feedback from affected populations on donor policy and its implementation in relation to a range of disarmament and peacebuilding policy sectors. The Institute has demonstrated expertise in relation to elaborating guidelines and planning, monitoring and evaluation procedures for practitioners, seeking systematically to build approaches inclusive of all civil society perspectives and stakeholders.
Between 50.000 to 1 million CHF per annum
  • Capacity and development training
  • Policy advice
  • Research and policy development
Description of activities
One of UNIDIR's recent research projects aimed to guide efforts to build national capacity in relation to reporting to the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms. / Draws on field work in Africa, Asia and South America.
UNIDIR projects are designed to offer policy advice to practitioners. Completed projects suggest that this advice was heeded—particularly in relation to the design of IDDRS for the UN and in relation to a 2006 EU resolution on improving cooperation with NGOs in the context of civilian peacebuilding missions. In addition, a number of other UNIDIR projects include policy advice on the basis of feedback from civil society and aimed at improving IO engagement with civil society in planning and programme design and implementation. Examples of ongoing or recent projects where this is the case include “International Assistance for Implementing the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons”, “Capacity Development for Reporting to the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms”, and “The Humanitarian and Development Impact of Cluster Munitions”. / Global, but case studies include countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The majority of UNIDIR's research projects are designed to engage with civil society, both in terms of the research methodology and in terms of the project objectives. Examples of recent or ongoing projects which aim to inform policy in relation to donor engagement with civil society include: 1) the “Security Needs Assessment Protocol” project (ongoing) which aims to enhance practitioners' assessments of local security problems; 2) a project to improve cooperation between EU civilian missions and civil society actors (concluded in 2006 as part of an ongoing project to improve EU–UN cooperation); 3) a project to improve the inclusion of women in DDR processes (completed in 2006); 4) a project to promote gender sensitivity in the roll out of the Inter-Agency Integrated DDR standards (IDDRS), completed in 2006. / Global, but case studies include countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Balkans.

DDR

Specific expertise relates to challenges associated with inter-agency and donor cooperation, funding of SSG and institutional capacities for conflict-sensitive programming. These include culturally and gender-sensitive approaches to DDR programmes and security needs assessments.
Between 50.000 to 1 million CHF per annum
  • Policy advice
  • Research and policy development
Description of activities
The relevant projects provide policy advice, including on how to improve policy implementation and inter-agency/donor cooperation. / global
Review of doctrine in relation to SSR and of EU and UN roles in project implementation in relation to fragile or post-conflict states. Expertise (in the EU–UN Cooperation project) on addressing supply-side obstacles (funding, planning, in-house capacity) to improve programming and project implementation, both in relation to civilian aspects of peace support operations and in relation to development programming. Expertise, in the Security Needs Assessment Protocol project and in DDR projects on developing inclusive and comprehensive approach to project design in relation to post-conflict disarmament and security sector reform. Expertise in relation to the regulation of public–private partnerships for sustainable development and human security. UNIDIR consolidated UN knowledge on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), extended DDR training, and furthered the inclusion of women in all aspects of DDR with reference to Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000). UNIDIR also developed a training course on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) for military and civilian women, and promoted gender mainstreaming in training activities of personnel involved in peace operations, especially those engaged in DDR. / global
  • Asia
    • South Asia
      • Nepal
  • Europe
    • Western Europe
      • Switzerland

Burundi

Sectors of activity: 
DDR
Types of activity: 
Research and policy development
Description: 

Identification of types of assistance needed for the control of small arms and light weapons according to national priorities.

UNIDIR consolidated UN knowledge on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), extended DDR training, and furthered the inclusion of women in all aspects of DDR with reference to Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000).

Also, in 2009, UNIDIR is conducting a review of European Commission (EC) funding in Burundi, with a view to examining the impact of the Peacebuilding Commission on EC funding decisions.

Sierra Leone

Types of activity: 
Research and policy development
Description: 

UNIDIR conducted a district-by-district survey of small arms and security-related issues. It illustrated the types of security problems people encountered at the time the fieldwork was conducted. The results were used to refine approaches to project design and planning in Freetown.

UNIDIR and UNDP conducted a 1,200 person survey on small arms and security in Sierra Leone. It offered an overview of the post-conflict DDR process, the origins of UNDP’s Arms for Development project, and produced research findings at the national and district levels.

In addition in 2009, UNIDIR is assessing the European Commission’s assistance in Sierra Leone with a view to assessing the impact of the Peace Building Commission on its country assistance.

Guinea Bissau

Types of activity: 
Research and policy development
Description: 

As part of a 2009 study on EC-UN cooperation in peacebuilding, UNIDIR is assessing European Commission financing in Guinnea Bissau, in part to assess the impact of UN Peacebuilding Commission on EC funding decisions.

Central African Republic

Types of activity: 
Research and policy development
Description: 

As part of a 2009 study on EC-UN cooperation in peacebuilding, UNIDIR is assessing European Commission financing in the Central African Republic, in part to assess the impact of UN Peacebuilding Commission on EC funding decisions.

Burundi

Sectors of activity: 
DDR
Types of activity: 
Research and policy development
Description: 

Identification of types of assistance needed for the control of small arms and light weapons according to national priorities.

UNIDIR consolidated UN knowledge on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), extended DDR training, and furthered the inclusion of women in all aspects of DDR with reference to Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000).

Also, in 2009, UNIDIR is conducting a review of European Commission (EC) funding in Burundi, with a view to examining the impact of the Peacebuilding Commission on EC funding decisions.

Sierra Leone

Types of activity: 
Research and policy development
Description: 

UNIDIR conducted a district-by-district survey of small arms and security-related issues. It illustrated the types of security problems people encountered at the time the fieldwork was conducted. The results were used to refine approaches to project design and planning in Freetown.

UNIDIR and UNDP conducted a 1,200 person survey on small arms and security in Sierra Leone. It offered an overview of the post-conflict DDR process, the origins of UNDP’s Arms for Development project, and produced research findings at the national and district levels.

In addition in 2009, UNIDIR is assessing the European Commission’s assistance in Sierra Leone with a view to assessing the impact of the Peace Building Commission on its country assistance.

Guinea Bissau

Types of activity: 
Research and policy development
Description: 

As part of a 2009 study on EC-UN cooperation in peacebuilding, UNIDIR is assessing European Commission financing in Guinnea Bissau, in part to assess the impact of UN Peacebuilding Commission on EC funding decisions.

Central African Republic

Types of activity: 
Research and policy development
Description: 

As part of a 2009 study on EC-UN cooperation in peacebuilding, UNIDIR is assessing European Commission financing in the Central African Republic, in part to assess the impact of UN Peacebuilding Commission on EC funding decisions.

United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
Palais des Nations Geneva 10 CH-1211
United Nations
More than 10 years
Between 1 million to 50 million CHF per annum
22
Palais des Nations Geneva 10 CH-1211
Headquarters

All of the Institute's operations are based in Geneva.

22
Mrs
Theresa Hitchens
Director
Catriona Gourlay
Project Manager
4

Partnership

United Nations Development Programme

Description: 

UNIDIR collaborated with UNDP on various projects including a survey of DDR programmes in Sierra Leone and in the Roll-Out of the UN Inter-Agency Integrated Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration Standards (IDDRS). Activities: DDR.

Partner organisations: 
United Nations

Office of Disarmament Affairs

Description: 

UNIDIR conducted a joint project with CASA in cooperation with the Office of Disarmament Affairs. Activities: Civilian small arms.

Partner organisations: 
United Nations

Small Arms Survey

Description: 

UNIDIR has conducted a number of joint projects with the Small Arms Survey, including, most recently, the project "Capacity Development for Reporting to the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms". Activities: Civilian small arms.

Partner organisations: 
Academic

Network

Coordinating Action on Small Arms

Type: 
United Nations / IOs
Description: 

The Coordinating Action on Small Arms (CASA) mechanism was established as a United Nations tool for the formulation and implementation of a multidisciplinary and coherent approach to the problem of the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW). UNIDIR has conducted a number of projects with CASA and its database. Activities: Civilian Small Arms Control, Mine Action.

Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces

Main purpose: 
Other
Other: 
Academic
Description: 

Informal cooperation of UNIDIR researchers and DCAF in relation to work on EU and UN activity in the area of SSR.

Geneva Forum

Type: 
United Nations / IOs
Description: 

UNIDIR, IUHEI (PSIS) and QUNO collaborate in this on-going project to promote dialogue among diplomats, practitioners and NGOs in Geneva. Activities: Civilian Small arms control, land mines.

NGOs

Type: 
Informal
Type: 
Other
Other: 
NGO/ Practitioner
Description: 

Informal networking to consolidate best practices in relation to projects to include gender issues in relation to DDR programming.

The Geneva Peacebuilding Partnership and European Peacebuilding Liaison Office

Description: 

Cooperation with GPP includes participation in Advisory Board and informal cooperation to organized GPP meetings. Cooperation with EPLO includes informal information sharing and advice to EPLO working groups on institutional reform and peacebuilding and civilian crisis management and peacebuilding.

Without name

Type: 
Informal
Type: 
United Nations / IOs
Description: 

Informal network of UN actors that are working on improving security needs assessment tools. Activities: Security needs assessments.