UN Register of Conventional Arms

A RCEME (Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) vehicle loading ordnance supplies (spare parts) at the UNEF workshops at Camp Rafah.
Photo credit: UN Photo/JG

Transparency in military matters is crucial for arms control and disarmament and thus the maintenance of international peace and security. That holds particularly true during times of uncertainty and volatility. Transparency acts as a confidence-building measure, thereby contributing to the prevention and reduction of ambiguities and tensions among Member States and, in turn, paving the way for international cooperation. Such measures can also encourage restraint in the transfer and production of armaments and decelerate military build-up. Moreover, information provided by States can be used as an early warning mechanism, thereby allowing for preventive diplomacy. It can also supplement data gathered by non-government organization and research institutes and can help promote transparency at a national and regional level as well. In short: transparency builds trust.

The UN General Assembly established the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA) in 1991 through resolution 46/36 L to promote transparency in armaments. Through the UNROCA instrument, Member States are requested, on an annual basis, to report their international transfers of seven categories major conventional arms, as well as small arms and light weapons. They may also provide additional background information, such as data on military holdings and procurement through national production. To date, 175 Member States have reported to the UNROCA instrument at least once. In light of relatively consistent reporting by the world’s largest arms exporters, it is estimated that the Register captures around 90 percent of the volume of the global arms trade.

Categories of equipment: 7+1

Annually, Member States are requested to supply data to UNROCA on their international transfers of the previous calendar year in the following seven categories of weapon systems:* 
Category I: Battle tanks
Category II: Armoured combat vehicles
Category III: Large-calibre artillery systems
Category IV: Combat aircraft and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV)
Category V: Attack helicopters and rotary-wing unmanned combat aerial vehicles
Category VI: Warships
Category VII: Missiles/missile launchers

*The scope of UNROCA was defined by the General Assembly in its resolution 46/36 L of 9 December 1991 (annex, para. 2 (a)) and has been subject to periodic review by groups of governmental experts, which in some instances resulted in amendments to the descriptions of the categories.

The Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on A New Agenda for Peace recognizes the importance of the Register of Conventional Arms to increase trust between States and build confidence through enhanced transparency.

To access the UNROCA database click here.

Related documents

General Assembly resolutions

A/RES/77/69 (2022)

A/RES/74/53 (2019)

A/RES/71/44 (2016)

A/RES/68/43 (2013)

A/RES/66/39 (2011)

A/RES/64/54 (2010)

A/RES/63/69 (2009)

A/RES/61/77 (2006)

A/RES/60/266 (2006)

A/RES/58/54 (2004)

A/RES/57/75 (2002)

A/RES/56/24 Q (2001)

A/RES/55/33 U (2000)

A/RES/54/54 I (1999)

A/RES/53/77 S (1998)

A/RES/52/38 B (1997)

A/RES/51/45 H (1997)

A/RES/50/70 D (1995)

A/RES/49/75 C (1994)

A/RES/48/75 E (1993)

A/RES/47/52 L (1992)

A/RES/46/36 L (1991)

Secretary-General’s reports

A/78/165 (2023)

A/77/165 (2022)

A/76/130 (2021)

A/75/152 (2020)

A/74/201 (2019)

A/73/185 (2018)

A/72/331 (2017)

A/71/138 (2016)

A/70/168 (2015)

A/69/124 (2014)

A/68/138 (2013)

A/67/212 (2012)

A/66/127 (2011)

A/65/133 (2010)

A/64/135 (2009)

A/63/120 (2008)

A/62/170 (2007)

A/61/159 (2006)

A/60/160 (2005)

A/59/193 (2004)

A/58/203 (2003)

A/57/221 (2002)

A/56/257 (2001)

A/55/299 (2000)

A/54/226 (1999)

A/53/334 (1998)

A/52/312 (1997)

A/51/300 (1996)

A/50/547 (1995)

A/50/276 (1995)

A/49/352 (1994)

A/48/344 (1993)

A/47/370 (1992)

GGE reports

*GGE – Group of Governmental Experts

A/77/126 (2022)

A/74/211 (2019)

A/71/259 (2016)

A/68/140 (2013)

A/64/296 (2009)

A/61/261 (2006)

A/58/274 (2003)

A/55/281 (2000)

A/52/316 (1997)

A/49/316 (1994)

A/47/342 (1992)

How to report

Member States are encouraged to submit reports to the Register via UNODA’s secure, web-based reporting tool (for governments only). The deadline to report each year is 31 May. The latest note verbale requesting submissions by Member States is available here.

To allow for direct communication between UNODA and national focal points, Member States are prompted to regularly provide updated contact information for their designated national point of contact. This can be done by reach out to UNODA by e-mail or by submitting a report via the online reporting tool.

In an effort to build national reporting capacities, UNODA published a practical guide which provides step-by-step instructions on how to prepare and submit national reports to UNROCA. Moreover, in cooperation with the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), UNODA organized a virtual training workshop for Permanent Missions and national points of contact on UNROCA reporting. The recording has been made available here.

Member States requiring any assistance in preparing or submitting reports to the Register are invited to reach out to UNODA via conventionalarms-unoda@un.org.

Reporting forms

Reports not available via the online database

Due to ongoing technical difficulties, the following national reports submitted to the Register are not available via the online database. Access them here by clicking on the respective report.

Related links