Source description last updated: 25 February 2020

In brief: Small Arms Survey is an independent research project located at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva providing reports and updates on small arms and armed violence.

Coverage on

Sudan and South Sudan Reports and Working Papers, Sudan and South Sudan Issue Briefs and Briefing Papers, other Reports as well as Annual Reports for countries of priorities A-C.

Coverage on twice a month.


“The Small Arms Survey provides expertise on all aspects of small arms and violence. As a global centre of excellence, the Small Arms Survey generates evidence-based, impartial, and policy-relevant knowledge and analysis on small arms and armed violence issues for governments, policy-makers, researchers, and civil society. [...] Our main objective is to reduce the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons and their impacts.” (Small Arms Survey Website, About the Small Arms Survey, undated)


The International Programme Council is the Small Arms Survey’s oversight body and responsible for the budget of the project. (Small Arms Survey: Annual Report 2017, June 2018, p. 17)

“A wide range of contributing partners make the work of the Small Arms Survey possible. In 2017, thanks to a total income of CHF 4,843,933 (USD 4,730,403), the overall funding of the organization remained at a similar level to that of 2016.” (Small Arms Survey: Annual Report 2017, June 2018, p. 18)

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: All countries; focus on Sudan and South Sudan, North Korea as well as North Africa and the Sahel-Sahara region

Thematic focus: Weapons and markets, armed violence, armed actors, regulations and controls, security programmes


“The Small Arms Survey project works with a wide variety of partner institutions worldwide [...]. These international and local partners gather relevant data and information for the Survey’s various publications and work on collaborative research projects.” (Small Arms Survey Website, Partners, undated)

“The Survey has an international staff with expertise in security studies, political science, law, economics, development studies, sociology, and criminology. [...] we generate policy-relevant research and analysis, and provide both resources (publications, podcasts and a wide range of relevant outputs) and services (training and capacity-building). The Small Arms Survey also manages five major global databases:

“In addition to the flagship Small Arms Survey yearbook - an annual review of global small arms and armed violence issues - the Survey publishes a range of periodic publications including Briefing Papers, Reports, Handbooks, a Book Series. We also have several series of publications developed by our focus projects - the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, the Security Assessment in North Africa, and the Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment - and a range of co-publications produced in collaboration with other organizations.” (Small Arms Survey Website, Publications by Type, undated)

“The Small Arms Survey updates its GVD [Global Violent Deaths] database annually, which offers comprehensive coverage of homicides, direct conflict deaths, and other violent deaths (unintentional homicides and killings due to legal interventions) from 223 countries and territories reaching back to 2004. It includes data that is disaggregated by sex and by instrument. The GVD database builds on a methodology developed through” the work on the report series “Global Burden of Armed Violence”. (Small Arms Survey Website, Small Arms Survey Tools, undated)

“The Small Arms Survey’s Peace Operations Data Set (PODS) documents attacks on peacekeepers and other incidents resulting in the loss of arms and ammunition.” (Explanatory Note on the Small Arms Survey's Peace Operations Data Set (PODS), undated)

“The Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer has been developed to assess and compare countries’ transparency in reporting on small arms exports. The Transparency Barometer is based on a set of guidelines and a coding system, taking into account of [sic!] national reports as well as submissions to UN databases.” (Small Arms Survey Website, Small Arms Survey Tools, undated)

“The Small Arms Survey continues to maintain its UEMS [unplanned explosions at munitions sites] database on an ongoing basis. [...] The visualization tool offers two interactive maps, two additional representations of the data, and an interactive data explorer that allows you to create custom visualizations” (Small Arms Survey Website, Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites, undated)

Language(s) of publications:


Further reading / links:

Small Arms Survey Yearbooks:

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, 7 June 2006

All links accessed 25 February 2020.