Upstream IED Prevention: Countering the illicit proliferation and diversion of materials used in the production of improvised explosive devices


A wide spectrum of materials can be used to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These include both military and civilian commercial products. The variety in design and means of deployment of IEDs vastly complicates efforts to regulate and control their proliferation. The United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly stressed the urgent need to prevent illicit actors from obtaining and using materials to produce IEDs, calling – in a resolution passed in December 2020 for example – on states to take appropriate measures to strengthen the management of their national ammunition stockpiles to prevent their diversion, and to strengthen their counterterrorism capabilities.

Conflict Armament Research (CAR) investigators have been working to document and trace components, subcomponents, and materials like commercial explosives that can be used to create IEDs. This work has been supported by the European Commission. Since 2018, investigators have documented and traced IED materials in a number of conflict-affected locations including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Iraq, Mali, Niger, Syria, and Yemen.

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Source: Conflict Armament Research