Final report - GDAMS 2015
GDAMS 2015 Final report is now available and includes highlights of the main actions organized by our partners all over the world.
GDAMS 2015 Photos & Reports
You can now see the full compilation of GDAMS 2015 actions worldwide.
Berlin Conference 2016
From 30 September to 3 October 2016, the International Peace Bureau will hold a conference on the reallocation of military expenditure.
GDAMS 2015 Statement
Read the statement released for GDAMS 2015 by the European network of peace organizations.

UN expert urges States to be more transparent on military expenditure

At the conclusion of an expert consultation convened by the Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order in Brussels on 15 May and attended by senior representatives of several organizations including NATO, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI), Transparency International, the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the International Peace Bureau (IPB), the Bonn International Conversion Center (BICC), the Group for Research and Information for Peace (GRIP), the Quaker Council for European Affairs and the Flemish Peace Institute, the Independent Expert, Alfred de Zayas, called for increased transparency on military expenditure:

“Since a democratic and equitable international order requires peace, States must engage in good faith negotiations for disarmament and significantly reduce military expenditure and the arms trade. While States frequently give lip service to disarmament and some progress could be observed, considerable efforts should still be made to reduce military spending. There is a general lack of transparency with regard to military budgets worldwide. Governments are reluctant to come forward with detailed information and statistics on military expenditures. Insufficient attention is devoted to these issues by the media, as if such matters were taboo. There is also scarce public participation in the determination of budget priorities. Powerful lobbies, including the military-industrial complex, weigh heavily on parliaments and governments and impose priorities that have no democratic legitimacy.

In order to remedy this situation, States should proactively inform their citizens concerning past, present and future military expenditure and engage the public in a debate on budget priorities. Good practices in combatting corruption and increasing transparency should be promoted. Moreover, the culture of fear that is advanced in some countries to justify the need for more sophisticated and extremely expensive weapons should be combatted.

States should henceforth report to the Human Rights Council on military expenditure, not only on the production and stockpiling of weapons, personnel and military bases abroad, but also on military-related research, including research into nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) procedure would be an appropriate forum to discuss a shift away from the “military first” approach prevalent in many countries towards the promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. States should report to the UPR on the percentage of the national budget used for all military-related expenditure (including slush funds) and contrast it against the percentage of the budget devoted for the administration of justice, education and health care.

Disarmament would help free resources necessary for sustainable development. Financial resources released through disarmament and downscaling of the military should be used to retrain personnel and to promote development of peaceful industries domestically and internationally.”

NZ Budget, Frigates or Families / Welfare or warfare?

The NZ Budget was released on Thursday, 16 May, and military spending has gone up by an unexpected 13.82% from last year, tragic. We published some comparative facts and figures in the GDAMS Aoteroa New Zealand index page and on Facebook.

The “centrepiece” of the Budget was a $493 million package for families, and as the Budget included a $446 million combat capability upgrade for the navy’s two frigates, the similarity of the amounts led to a ‘Frigates or Families?’ comparison. Our comments on the Budget – pre and post release – have been compiled into ‘Frigates or Families / Welfare or warfare? Comments on Budget 2014’.

Incidentally, the frigates’ combat capability upgrade also highlighted the NZ government’s ongoing complicity around nuclear weapons production – despite the Crown Financial Institutions divesting from Lockheed Martin some years ago because of its involvement in the production of nuclear weapons and cluster munitions, both banned under NZ law, the contract for the combat upgrade was awarded to Lockheed Martin Canada.

Source: Peace Movement Aotearoa,  17 May 2014

Paying for the Climate Change Pivot – world leaders can’t really fight climate change unless they slash military spending

We only have a few decades to deal with climate change. If humanity fails to cut back dramatically on carbon emissions by 2050, according to an alarming new UN report, our planet may warm past the point of our ability to fix the problem.

Given global dependence on oil, gas, and coal, weaning every economy from fossil fuels to save Mother Earth won’t come easy or cheap. Fortunately, there’s a big pot of money available to avert a climate catastrophe.

Accessing that money, however, requires cutting back on a different set of pollutants — the huge cache of weapons the world continues to produce.

Europe has trimmed its military spending and the Pentagon budget is leveling off. Yet other regions are burning through more cash to wage or gear up for war than they used to.

Military outlays are rising the most in Africa and the Middle East. And Asia surpassed Europe last year for the first time in terms of overall military spending.

The United States still faces no competition for its distinction as the world’s military spending champion. The Pentagon’s $640 billion tab amounted to more than a third of the $1.75 trillion in global military spending the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute itemized for 2013.

What does worldwide military excess have to do with today’s reliance on fossil fuels? Instead of investing in ways to slow global warming and adapt to a changing climate, too many nations are pouring money into weapons in an ongoing fight over the dwindling resources we haven’t quite used up yet.

There’s still time to pivot in a new direction. One big step governments, industries, and investors must take is to quadruple the money they’re pumping into sustainable alternatives to oil, gas, and coal.

Click here to read the complete article.

Global military spending trumps global aid

Russia and China are among the nations that are sharply increasing their military spending while contributions to global humanitarian aid decrease.

The possibility of rising U.S. and Russia-China tension, the Ukraine and Syrian crisis, the conflict in Africa particularly in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, the ongoing instability in the Middle East, the conflict between South-North Korea, all can speed up the armament race in the near future while global humanitarian aid slows down.

While the UN in 2013 and 2014 asked for almost $13bn to fund its humanitarian operations for a one year period, global military spending totaled $1.75 trillion in 2013 – 130 times higher than the planned humanitarian aid in 2013 and 2014.

The UN appeal for humanitarian aid for this year, which will be used for 52 million people in 17 countries, was the highest ever but not even close to the global military spending.

While global military spending in 2014 is in uptrend, the development on global humanitarian aid is totally different. The international humanitarian response fell by 8 percent from $19.4 billion in 2011 to $17.9 billion in 2012.

Click here to read the complete article.

Ukraine crisis prompts interest in military buys

The Ukrainian crisis that has already prompted Sweden to consider raising military spending is boosting interest in military hardware in other European states, Saab AB Chief Executive Hakan Buskhe said.

“The number of questions about enhancing defense capabilities from a handful of nations in continental Europe and also in the Nordic area have increased,” Mr. Bushke said in an interview. “The discussion about possibilities is more active today than just a couple of months ago.”

David Wajgras, chief financial officer of Raytheon Co., the world’s largest missile maker, also said this week that several countries were considering higher levels of military spending, including Latvia and Lithuania.

The Swedish government said on Tuesday that spending on defense should raise an extra 5.5 billion kronor ($836 million) and be spent on items such as submarines and Gripen combat planes that Saab builds. The government’s position is “a major mind shift,” Mr. Buskhe said Friday, cautioning that “to turn that into activities for us will take some time.”

Saab generated about 70% of sales outside Sweden in the first quarter that saw net income fall 33% to 176 million Swedish kronor after revenue in the first three months fell 10% to 5.3 billion kronor, the Stockholm-based company said in a statement Friday.

Click here to read the complete article.