281 Arms Exports

Definition

This map shows the earnings of territories from the export of arms. Arms exports are international transfers of arms from one territory to another. The United Nations Development Programme defines conventional arms transfers as follows: “the voluntary transfer by the supplier (and thus excludes captured weapons and weapons obtained through defectors) of weapons with a military purpose destined for the armed forces, paramilitary forces or intelligence agencies of another country. These include major conventional weapons or systems in six categories: ships, aircraft, missiles, artillery, armoured vehicles and guidance and radar systems (excluded are trucks, services, ammunition, small arms, support items, components and component technology and towed or naval artillery under 100-millimetre calibre).” An estimated US$22,243 million was earned from arms worldwide in 2003.

The UNDP definition was sourced from the section on ‘Technical notes and definitions’ of the 2004 Human Development Report, which was accessed from the site below in November, 2004:

http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2004/?CFID=2121183&CFTOKEN=49316584

It is noted in the data source that: “ data are as of 25 February 2004 . Figures are trend indicator values, which are an indicator only of the volume of international arm transfers, not of the actual financial value of such transfers. Published reports of arms transfers provide partial information, as not all transfers are fully reported. The estimates presented are conservative and may understate actual transfers of conventional weapons.”

Data sources

The data were sourced from the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2004 Human Development Report, Table 22. In turn these data were sourced from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Many notes and caveats can be found in turn from the 2003, SIPRI Yearbook: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Specific data, in US dollars adjusted to its 1990 value, are from the SIPRI 2004 Arms Transfers database. Because of the adjustment to 1990 values this is a very conservative estimate pf the volume of arms purchased in 2004. According to the data source these “data are as of 25 February 2004. Figures are trend indicator values, which are an indicator only of the volume of international arm transfers, not of the actual financial value of such transfers. Published reports of arms transfers provide partial information, as not all transfers are fully reported. The estimates presented are conservative and may understate actual transfers of conventional weapons.” When the world share of arms exports is given above 1% in table 22 then that is applied to the estimated total to obtain map data. When it was given as "under $1 million" for 42 territories put $0.5 million was assumed. It was given as zero for 23 territories. 76 territories had no export data but did have import data, and 26 mainly small territories and islands (1.3% of the world population) had no data at all. These were all given zero.

When US dollars are used to measure value, the 1990 value of US dollars is used.

Click here to view detailed data source references

The quotation used to accompany this map is from Isaac Lappia, who at the time of the quote was Amnesty International’s Director in Sierra Leone. A longer version of the quotation was not included on the poster, it reads as follows: “During the civil war, my family lived in constant fear. Guns were everywhere – automatic and semi-automatic rifles, machine guns, pistols - and so were hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, and other life-destroying tools of warfare.” The quotation was sourced from the publication referenced below:

Martin Wroe and Malcolm Doney. ‘The Rough Guide to a Better World: how you can make a difference’. The United Kingdom's Department for International Development and Rough Guide. p.38.

Excel sheets

Below is an explanation of each of the columns in the excel file:

Column A = Unique numerical territory (see 001).

Column B = Region and territory names (see 001).

Column C = Region code (see 001).

Column D = The ISO 3 code, or ISO ALPHA-3 (see 001).

Column E = Earnings from arms exports, in millions of 1990-value US$ dollars, in 2003. This number is taken from column H. If data were missing, then zero is assumed.

Column F = Earnings from arms exports per person living in a territory, in 1990-value US $, in 2003. This is calculated by dividing the value of arms exports in millions of 1990-value US $ in 2003 (Column E) by the population in millions in 2002 (Column G). (F = E / G).

Column G = Population in millions, for year 2002. For source data and derived estimates see 002, ‘Total Population’.

Column H = Arms exports in 2003 in millions of 1990-value US dollars. This is calculated using the source data. For territories where the percentage of the world share of arms exports from that territory is reported to be greater than 1, then that percentage of the world share is multiplied by the worldwide total millions of US$ value of arms exports, and divided by 100 to give the value of exports from that territory in millions of US$. If the data on the world share of the value of arms exports was not available or was 1%, then alternative source data giving the value of exports was used. If (.) was shown then exports of the value of US$ 0.5 million were assumed. Where data are missing ‘..’ is shown.