ISACS Assessment Tool


The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) has developed a software tool that allows ISACS to be used to conduct national self-assessments of small arms and light weapons controls.

The ISACS Assessment Tool compares existing national controls over small arms and light weapons with international standards and helps to identify and prioritise areas that are in need of being strengthened.  The Assessment Tool can also assist in the design, monitoring and evaluation of small arms control policies, programmes and practices.  You can download and use the ISACS Assessment Tool free of charge by following 5 simple steps:

STEP 1:  Install Adobe Air

To use the ISACS Assessment Tool, Adobe AIR must be installed on your computer.  Adobe Air can be downloaded free of charge by clicking here

STEP 2:  Register your details

Fill in your details below and click on the “Register…” button at the bottom.

STEP 3:  Download the ISACS Assessment Tool

STEP 4:  Install the ISACS Assessment Tool

Install the ISACS Assessment Tool on your computer by following the on-screen instructions. The ISACS Assessment Tool Installation Guide can assist you.  

STEP 5:  Learn how to use the ISACS Assessment Tool

Learn how to use the ISACS Assessment Tool using the ISACS Assessment Tool Basic Guide.


Frequently asked questions

What can I do with the ISACS Assessment Tool?

The ISACS Assessment Tool can help you to design, monitor and evaluate small arms and light weapons (SALW) control policies, programmes and practices and to assess how existing SALW controls align with international standards.  The Tool enables users to navigate the standards quickly, sort their provisions by importance, generate assessment questionnaires on operational issues covered by the ISACS and analyze the assessment results (including quick identification of priorities and potential gaps), in order to evaluate the implementation of existing small arms control policies, programmes and practices.

What is the added value of the ISACS Assessment Tool?

The ISACS Assessmen Tool is designed to

  • improve the design, monitoring, and evaluation of projects and programmes by all stakeholders; 
  • help to collect, maintain, and share knowledge and effective practices on small arms control; 
  • assist in the identification of capacity-building needs and provide a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of assistance programming;
  • create a set of benchmarks against which to measure the implementation of small arms commitments; and
  • facilitate the development of national small arms control standards. 

Who should use the ISACS Assessment Tool?

The software is publically available to all interested users. Potential users include the United Nations, UN Member States, international and regional organizations, training institutes, civil society and the private sector.   

How can the ISACS Assessment Tool be used?

  • To identify priority areas for small arms control and to develop and target programming and activities.
  • To conduct internal self-assessments, monitor progress of implementation efforts, and generate data for strategic and policy planning. 
  • Recipients of donor assistance can use the Tool to develop assistance requests by identifying priority areas and ensuring alignment between needs and assistance requests. 
  • To generate data for national reporting exercises, and raising the quality of information reported. 
  • Donor states can use the Tool to generate baseline data at the beginning of an assistance project and as an evaluation tool at the end. 

Why is it important to conduct self-assessments of small arms control efforts?

Existing implementation challenges on small arms control cannot be addressed effectively until current implementation status is understood sufficiently. Monitoring and evaluation of implementation efforts requires that adequate data collection and analysis be conducted in a timely manner. The ISACS Assessment Tool allows users to assess their implementation efforts on small arms control and enables them to determine the need for interventions by appropriate stakeholders to address problems associated with the illicit trade, uncontrolled proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons.

What are ISACS Indicators?

In order to enable users to conduct self-assessments, a set of indicators were developed, drawn directly from ISACS.  The indicators help users to identify 1) whether guidance provided by ISACS has been followed (e.g. establishing a baseline), and 2) the extent to which it has been followed (including over time). The indicators enable users to assess how well they are following the guidance set out in ISACS, as well as gaps in existing capacities that international cooperation and  assistance could help to fill. 

Each indicator in the Assessment Tool is assigned a level of priority, corresponding to the four levels of priority defined by ISACS (Shall/Should/May/Can). By this method, each indicator provides insight into the degree of implementation in relation to priorities set by the standards. The priority levels of indicators are:

  • Shall: The “shall” level indicates the highest priority for implementation. For those who wish to use the standards, the “shall” category indicates a requirement. The “shall” indicators address the question: How well are we doing in implementing the commitments that ISACS defines as requirements? Where do we need assistance?
  • Should: The “should” level indicates the measures recommended for implementation by the standards.
  • May: The “may” level indicates actions permissible within the scope of ISACS. 
  • Can: The “can” level indicates capability actions in ISACS. 

How was the ISACS Assessment Tool developed?

The ISACS Assessment Tool was developed by UNIDIR, with support from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), and in close cooperation with the ISACS Inter-Agency Support Unit. The software was developed and validated through field-testing of its utility and applicability in several countries representing a range of capacity and geographic locations. A total of 10 countries were visited in validating the Tool. Experts, practitioners, and policymakers from States, the United Nations, regional organizations, training institutes, and civil society actively engaged in the testing activities and consultations. 

What is the technological platform for the ISACS Assessment Tool?

The ISACS Assessment Tool is stand-alone and functional offline. The offline framework enhances protection of information and facilitates operational support when an internet connection is not available. Users have complete ownership and control over the data generated by them. The Tool is compatible with both Windows and MAC systems. The software operates on the Adobe AIR platform, which must be installed in order to be able to run the Assessment Tool.  

How do I ensure that I am using the most up-to-date version of the ISACS Assessment Tool?

Like ISACS, the ISACS Assessment Tool will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Users are encouraged to visit the ISACS website frequently to ensure they are using the most up to date version of the tool.  We will inform all registered users by email each time a new version of the tool is posted on this website.  

Where can I access and download the ISACS Assessment Tool?

The assessment tool is available for download free of charge via the ISACS website: (see instructions at the top of this page).  

How can  the ISACS Assessment Tool?

For more information on the ISACS Assessment Tool, please contact Himayu Shiotani, Project Manager and Researcher at UNIDIR:   

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Screen-shot of the ISACS Assessment Tool