Europe should stop exporting weapons and financing war, and should instead invest in peace, security and sustainable development, according to participants in number of events in Basel organized by the Basel Peace Office on Jan 14-15.
The magnitude of this military spending is not understood by the public, nor the amount of good that would occur if just a portion of this money was reallocated to peace and sustainable development, said Prof (em) Andreas Nidecker MD (Switzerland), President of the Basel Peace Office. During an action on January 15, the Basel Peace Office counted out €27 billion (the amount of annual European arms exports) in 27,000 notes each of €1 million value, and ‘reallocated’ this to climate protection and the other sustainable development goals. The counting action took place during the Basel Peace Forum, an annual event organized by swisspeace which brings around 200 leaders of business, diplomacy, academia and civil society from around the world to Basel to generate new ideas for peace, conflict prevention and conflict transformation. A key theme for the 2019 Forum was Impact Investing. Other topics included Artificial Intelligence and Digitalization, Architecture and Urban Planning, Health and Migration as well as Risks in the Extractive Industries.
The Mayors for Peace network, to which more than 7,000 cities and towns belong, is a worldwide movement for peace that is a powerful voice against war and environmental destruction,’ said Thomas Hermann, Deputy Mayor of Hannover, a Mayors for Peace Executive City. Now more than ever, when peace-making treaties that respond to nuclear armament are being called into question, when we face the threat of new arms escalation in Europe, and when the consequences of climate change are displacing people in increasing numbers, we must speak out more forcefully once again, said Hermann.