Ammunition supply patterns in areas of conflict are often distinct from arms supply patterns. Small arms, which are often recycled from conflict to conflict, typically have a lifespan of several decades; however, their value depends on an uninterrupted supply of ammunition.
The extent of the destruction caused by unregulated ammunition flows has become increasingly evident. Expert panels monitoring Security Council arms embargoes have suggested that the popularity of certain types of weapons among armed groups corresponds to the availability of their ammunition.
Conversely, in some cases lack of ammunition has prompted combatants to seek to resolve their disputes peacefully. Preventing resupply in situations of high risk to civilian populations should be a priority.