May 2009

Welcome to the May 2009 issue of SIPRI Update: Global Security & Arms Control. This monthly newsletter is your source for the latest developments in international security, arms control, non-proliferation and conflict, including recent SIPRI activities and publications.

In this issue:

Playing both sides: how air transport firms profit by shipping arms and aid

Hugh Griffiths and Bates Gill

Incredible as it may seem, traffickers in commodities that help fuel some of the world’s nastiest conflicts—transporting such things as arms, ‘blood diamonds’ and cocaine—also continue to profit from humanitarian aid and UN peacekeeping contracts. These airlines have also proved to be a safety risk, with frequent crashes leading to the deaths of pilots and peacekeepers as well as the loss of humanitarian aid. The use of these companies can have serious consequences for the integrity of UN and other humanitarian aid and peacekeeping supply chains, and endanger the lives of people who come in their way. What can be done?

Continue reading . . .


Launch of SIPRI report on Air Transport and Destabilizing Commodity Flows

On 12 May, SIPRI launched a new report, Air Transport and Destabilizing Commodity Flows, SIPRI Policy Paper no. 24, by SIPRI researchers Hugh Griffiths and Mark Bromley. The report reveals how air cargo companies involved in illicit or destabilizing arms transfers to African conflict zones have also repeatedly been contracted to deliver humanitarian aid and support peacekeeping operations.

Read the full press release in English or in Swedish. The full Policy Paper can be downloaded here and an executive summary here. Read more about SIPRI’s Countering Illicit Trafficking Mechanism Assessment Project here.

The story was covered by more than 380 media outlets. Read some samples of the coverage: Swedish radio; AFP; The Guardian; German media; Spanish media; Finnish media; Dagens Nyheter; Swedish TV; Radio Sweden International; BBC; Deutsche Welle; Inter Press Service.

Statement by the Swedish Government on the report.

Statement by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency on the report.

SIPRI Arms Transfers data released

New data released on April 27 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reveal a significant rise in arms transfers to the Middle East. There were also increases in arms deliveries to East Asia, the Caucasus and Pakistan. The USA remains the world’s largest arms exporter, followed by Russia and Germany. Access the completely updated data set and full background report, based on unbiased information gathered by the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. Read the press release in English or in Swedish.

SIPRI Euro-Atlantic expert answers questions on the Swedish EU Presidency

Senior Researcher Gunilla Herolf of the SIPRI Euro-Atlantic Security Programme has been invited by Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter to join its expert panel to reply to questions from the public relating to the upcoming Swedish EU Presidency. To follow the debate and submit questions yourself, please click here.

Forthcoming SIPRI events

8 June

Launch of SIPRI Yearbook 2009

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute is pleased to announce the highlight of its events calendar, the launch of the latest edition of the SIPRI Yearbook, SIPRI’s compendium of independent data and analysis in the field of armaments, disarmament and international security. Among the guest speakers will be Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, one of the leading lights in UN peacekeeping reform, who will talk about contemporary challenges in peacekeeping. A former Foreign Minister and Ambassador for Algeria, he was chair of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, which produced the influential Brahimi Report. In 2009, Amb. Brahimi joined SIPRI’s Governing Board. Although the launch is primarily a media event, SIPRI warmly welcomes to the launch anyone interested in learning more about SIPRI Yearbook 2009 and critical developments in the field of armaments, disarmament and international security.

For more information and to register for the launch event, please contact SIPRI Communications Officer Stephanie Blenckner.

A media advisory will be sent to journalists separately. For interviews and embargoed material, journalists should contact Stephanie Blenckner.

Time: 8 June 8 10.00–11.00. Venue: Press Room, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Fredsgatan 8, Stockholm

24 June

SIPRI Yearbook 2009 UK launch event

The London School of Economics will host a seminar for the public to present key findings of the SIPRI Yearbook 2009. The event will be chaired by Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance at the LSE and a member of the SIPRI Governing Board. Speakers will include SIPRI Director Bates Gill and others to be confirmed. Copies of SIPRI Yearbook 2009 will be available for sale. Media and members of the public are welcome.

To register for the event, contact SIPRI Communications Officer Stephanie Blenckner.

Time: 24 June 18.00–19.30. Venue: London School of Economics

Recent SIPRI events

14 May

Expert meeting on arms trafficking and destabilizing networks

SIPRI, together with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organized an expert meeting in Brussels entitled ‘Arms Trafficking, Illicit Flows and Destabilizing Networks’. The meeting followed the release of a Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs-funded SIPRI report, Air Transport and Destabilizing Commodity Flows (see 'SIPRI news' and the essay in this mailing).
Held in association with the Czech EU Presidency, the expert meeting brought together EU member state and institutional experts in the fields of disarmament, transport, intelligence, security, defence, humanitarian aid, civil aviation and air traffic control.

For more information, contact SIPRI Researcher Hugh Griffiths.

12 May
New York

SIPRI joins preparatory meetings for the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference

SIPRI Governing Board Chair Rolf Ekéus, together with SIPRI Deputy Director Daniel Nord, SIPRI Senior Adviser Henrik Salander and SIPRI Project Coordinator Theresa Höghammar, organized a dialogue meeting with Senator Sam Nunn of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and heads of delegations of non-nuclear weapon states. The dialogue meeting is one of a series of multilateral meetings that will be organized by the SIPRI Project ‘Strengthening Global Disarmament: The Role of Non-nuclear Weapon States’ during 2009–2010.

For further information contact SIPRI Project Coordinator Theresa Höghammar.

12 May

Launch of the Chinese version of SIPRI Yearbook 2008

The Chinese version of SIPRI Yearbook 2008 was launched at an event in Beijing organized by the Chinese Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA). The event assembled over 90 participants, including Beijing-based military experts and foreign diplomats.

Read some media coverage of the event in PLA Daily, based on an interview with Teng Jianqun, the Deputy Secretary of CACDA, and on China Radio Net. To purchase the Chinese translation of SIPRI Yearbook 2009>, click here.

For more information contact SIPRI Senior Researcher Linda Jakobson.

8 May

Launch of the SIPRI Programme on China and Global Security

More than 120 participants joined the seminar and launch event for SIPRI’s new programme on China on Global Security at the Stockholm World Trade Centre. For media coverage of the launch, see People's Daily Online, Xinhua and Earthtimes.

Audio from the session is available on request from SIPRI Communication Officer Stephanie Blenckner.

5 May

China and the climate change negotiations

SIPRI Senior Researcher Linda Jakobson of the SIPRI Programme on China and Global Security spoke on ‘China’s negotiation position before Copenhagen’ at the conference ‘Towards a New Climate Regime’, organized by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs at the Finnish Parliament.

Contact Linda Jakobson for further information.

8 April

SIPRI contributes towards an arms trade treaty

United Nations member states are currently discussing the feasibility of an arms trade treaty (ATT), which would seek to create better controls on international arms transfers. SIPRI Researcher Pieter Wezeman participated in the first of a series of six regional seminars organized by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) as part of a European Union-funded project to promote discussion on the treaty. SIPRI is producing a series of regional background papers to support and facilitate this process.

Read more and download the first background paper here.

SIPRI in the media

The launch of the new SIPRI Policy Paper Air Transport and Destabilizing Commodity Flows (see above) was covered by more than 380 media outlets. Contact Stephanie Blenckner for a detailed report on media coverage.

The launch of the new SIPRI arms transfers data for 2009 was covered by more than 540 media outlets worldwide. Coverage included an Al Jazeera 30-minute TV special Inside Story, Mittagsmagazin , Rapport (Sweden) and Aktuellt (Sweden). Please contact Stephanie Blenckner for a detailed report on media coverage.

SIPRI Senior Fellow Dr Paul Holtom and SIPRI Researcher Mark Bromley addressed potential impacts of the financial crisis on the international arms trade in an article for ISN Security Watch.

On the recent events in Korea, SIPRI Deputy Director Daniel Nord was interviewed on TV 4 (Sweden) and SIPRI Senior Fellow Ian Anthony in Aftonbladet.

SIPRI Director Dr Bates Gill commented on EU—China summit perspectives for EurActiv. He was also quoted on the Chinese Navy by the BBC.

SIPRI Senior Fellow Siemon Wezeman talked about recent developments in Sri Lanka for the EU Observer and on Norway’s decision to purchase the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter instead of the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen for the Swedish TV programme Uppdrag granskning.

SIPRI Senior Fellow Dr Ekaterina Stepanova was quoted in a McClatchy Newspapers report on the booming illicit drug trade in Afghanistan.

SIPRI Senior Researcher Shannon Kile was quoted by Radio Free Europe on Pakistan’s expanding nuclear weapon production.

SIPRI was mentioned in an analysis by the Foreign Policy Journal on influential states and power balances.

SIPRI's latest publications

Prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence at the International Criminal Court
SIPRI Insights on Peace and Security no. 2009/1
Ashley Dallman

Published by SIPRI
May 2009
Download from

Despite growing awareness and intensified condemnation, rape and other forms of sexual violence continue to be widely used weapons in conflicts around the world. The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first mechanism for holding leaders of states accountable for genocide and other serious international crimes, including gender crimes. Yet, nearly seven years after its establishment, the ICC has difficulty fulfilling its double role of a symbol of deterrence and a catalyst for the elimination of sexual violence in armed conflict. This SIPRI Insights paper looks into the strengths and weaknesses of the ICC and thereby provides an important input for the upcoming Review Conference of the Rome Statute in 2010.

Enforcing European Union Law on Exports of Dual-Use Goods
SIPRI Research Report no. 24
Anna Wetter

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of SIPRI

April 2009
ISBN 978-0-19-954896-5
hardback 160 pp. £35/$70
Order from the OUP website (UK or USA) or from all good bookshops.

This Research Report introduces the often complex international, European and national legislation and arrangements governing the control of dual-use exports in the EU in a clear and methodical manner. Case studies describe the dual-use export control legislation and enforcement systems in four EU member states along with real-life investigations and prosecutions. The book also offers recommendations for enhancing national export control systems and their enforcement.

Reporting Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, 2007
SIPRI Background Paper
Paul Holtom

Published by SIPRI
February 2009
Download from

This paper details and analyses UN member states’ reporting of international transfers of small arms and light weapons (SALW) to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA) for 2007. It complements a similar study that covers the years 2003–2006. It concludes that the level of reporting on international transfers of SALW is now high enough that the UNROCA Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) should reconsider the establishment of a new, eighth UNROCA category of SALW. The paper gives recommendations on how the new category could be established and how it would function.

China’s Expanding Peacekeeping Role: Its Significance and the Policy Implications
SIPRI Policy Brief
Bates Gill and Chin-hao Huang

Published by SIPRI
February 2009
Download from

This year marks the 20th anniversary of China’s first contributions to a UN peacekeeping operation. This Policy Brief examines the dramatic expansion in Chinese involvement in UN peacekeeping activities and makes recommendations to the international community on how to engage with China in order to strengthen its commitment to regional stability, ensure greater convergence between Chinese and other international interests on questions of regional security, and encourage more effective international peacekeeping operations.

SIPRI Yearbook 2008
Armaments, Disarmament and International Security

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of SIPRI
ISBN 978-0-19-954895-8
ISSN 0953-0282
hardback 604 pp. £85/$150
Order from the OUP website (UK or USA) or from all good bookshops and online booksellers

For information on SIPRI publications visit the SIPRI Publications website,

Other recent publications by SIPRI authors

Linda Jakobson, ‘China’s changing climate’, The World Today, vol. 65, no. 5 (May 2009). Read the publication here.

Bates Gill and Chin-hao Huang, ‘China’s expanding presence in UN peacekeeping operations and implications for the United States’, eds Roy Kamphausen, David Lai and Andrew Scobell, Beyond the Strait: PLA Missions Other Than Taiwan (Strategic Studies Institute, Apr. 2009). Read the chapter here.

Ekaterina Stepanova, ‘Massive conventional terrorist attack as a threat to critical infrastructure security’, ed. Nayef R. F. al-Rodhan, Potential Global Strategic Catastrophes (Lit Verlag, 2009). Information on the volume is available here.

Robert Sutter and Chin-Hao Huang, ‘China–Southeast Asia relations: South China Sea, economic issues’, Comparative Connections, vol. 10, no. 4 (Apr. 2009), pp. 63–72.
Read the article here.

Tim Foxley, ‘Where are we with the Afghan police force?’, ISIS Europe, European Security Review, no.43 (Mar. 2009). Read the article here.

John Hart, ‘Background to selected environmental and human health effects of chemical warfare agents’, eds O. Hutzinger, D. Barceló and A. Kostianoy, The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, vol. 3, Anthropogenic Compounds (Springer Verlag: Berlin, 2009), pp. 1–19. Read more here.

Zdzislaw Lachowski, ‘Regional risks and instabilities and conventional arms control’, paper presented on 25 March at the Berlin Seminar on Conventional Arms Control, ‘Conventional Arms Control and Disarmament in the Current Strategic Environment’, RACVIAC Centre for Security Cooperation, Bestovje, Croatia.

SIPRI in the media

Latest SIPRI Yearbook data launches

14 Dec. 2015:
 Top 100 arms-producing companies for 2014. Read the press release.

22 Feb. 2016: International arms transfers data for 2015. Read the press release.

5 Apr. 2016: World military expenditure data for 2015. Read the press release.

SIPRI's global reach

In 2014, SIPRI was cited in approximately 13 000 media outlets, reaching a potential audience of more than
100 million people in over 130 countries.
Download a two-page information sheet (PDF) summarizing SIPRI's communications and outreach activities in 2014.