UNODA Short Course Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas



This short course focuses on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA), which poses a dangerous threat to civilian populations in urban settings, with a high percentage of victims being children, and weighs devastating consequences to infrastructure, human health, and the surrounding environment, hindering the implementation of various goals set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Over the last century, the world has become progressively less accepting of the blanket use of explosive force across populated areas. New international rules constraining the bombardment of towns and cities were developed in response to the inhumanity of carpet bombings in World War II and the conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s. A growing number of governments, NGOs and international institutions have recently voiced their concern that the established framework to thwart EWIPA use needs to be enhanced with updated policies and efforts to protect civilians. This includes strengthening the application of international law that has been designed to provide civilian and humanitarian protection.


This course examines the destructive use of explosive weapons in populated areas and the international efforts that have been created in order to respond to this humanitarian issue. It discusses the effects of armed conflict on non-combatants in urban settings, as well as the challenges caused by this problem.

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Justify the significance of disarmament and non-proliferation
  • Describe the role the United Nations and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs play in addressing disarmament issues in general and the EWIPA problem in particular
  • Explain what the weapons of concern are, and what kind of threat they pose for the civilian population
  • Understand the various milestones in the evolution of international efforts which aim at protecting non-combatants
  • Analyse the achievements that have been made and the challenges that yet need to be tackled in the EWIPA problem


The course is open to all interested audiences.

Components and Methodology:

Each module takes approximately 20 minutes and can be completed at the learner’s own pace

The course consists of two thematic modules:

  • Introduction to Disarmament: Machinery, Processes and the Role of the United Nations
  • Explosive Weapons and Populated areas

The course is available in English and is held in the Disarmament Education Dashboard, thus participants need a computer or mobile device, with audio and reliable internet connection. No special software is required.


Upon successful completion of thematic modules, including examination and course evaluation a certificate of completion will automatically be issued to the participant.

Short-course Series

The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Short Course Series aims at making available quality education material on disarmament, arms control, non-proliferation and issues cross-cutting with security, such as gender and development. The courses are targeted for and available to the general public at UNODA’S globally accessible e-Learning platform

In line with the UN Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament this short-course series aims to contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.