Remnants of war, aging, and overstocked ammunition stockpiles are constant safety and security threat for the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. Due to its age (40 years old, on average), poor conditions of storage facilities, and lack of maintenance, these stockpiles have deteriorated to the point that they pose a threat to the local community adjacent to a storage location. The primary risk related to aging ammunition stockpile management is Uncontrolled Explosions of a Munition Site (UEMS), which can cause loss of life, damage to infrastructure and inherently diminish development opportunities within the wider area.
During the period January 2010 – March 2020, globally, there have been 242 unplanned explosions of munitions sites with over 9,190 human casualties. Simultaneously, seven incidents of this type occurred in the region (Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, and Croatia), causing seven deaths and 35 injured persons.
The risk of illicit proliferation is secondary in this case, but present, in such a way that ammunition poses a transnational security threat. The potential proliferation of ammunition and weaponry from BiH within the region further to EU countries can lead to increased instability and enhance the likelihood of criminal and terrorist activities.
The latest data from EUFOR (24 November 2020) illustrates that the Ministry of Defence/Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (MoD/AF BiH) are currently managing up to 12,100 tonnes ammunition stockpiles in total. Considering that AF BiH require 7,500 tonnes of ammunition to be fully operational, there are some 4,600 tonnes of surplus ammunition. Within this surplus, 2/3 of the ammunition should be designated for disposal due to its condition and inability to overhaul and store them further.
By fulfilling the stockpile reduction planned in 2021, it is expected that the total quantity of ammunition stockpile of MoD/AF BiH will drop below 10,000 thus enabling a sustained stockpile management system within MoD/AF BiH. Also, aside from the surplus quantities, some of the prospective items within the envisaged 7,500 tonnes of formation kit are expected to come to an end of their shelf life; thus, they will have to be considered for overhaul or disposal through one of three methods: a) destruction (industrial demilitarization/detonation); b) donation; and/or c) sales.