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.

Greenpeace: Divert excessive weapon spending to achieve clean energy future

According to new figures released on Monday, last year a whopping US$1747 billion was spent on armies across the world. Modest decreases in spending in austerity hit Western Europe and reduced spending in the US, which is still the biggest spender by far with almost 40% of global spending, were matched by increased spending in Eastern Europe and Asia. While the West still spent over half of global defense outlays, this is down from two-thirds of global totals in 2010. In the perverted logic that equates development and regional power with military might, emerging economies continue to ramp up their so-called defense spending levels. ‘Defense’ outlays in China and Russia have been rising since 2008 by more than 40% and 30% respectively, while massive increases are also taking place in India and Saudi Arabia.

Not only is weapon spending higher now than in the peak of the Cold War, it is also projected to further increase this year, after five years of remaining relatively stable.

“The world is over-armed and peace is underfunded,” said Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General. When you consider these figures alongside the volume of international weapon trade, which has also grown by 14% in the last four years, it is hard to disagree. Consider this – the regular budget of the UN, the body set up following World War II to preserve peace through international cooperation and collective security – is only US$2.7 billion. A fraction of what is spent on weapons.

Sadly, there is a large gap between which countries are prepared to allocate for military means to prepare for war and maintain their global and regional power status, on the one hand, and to prevent war and promote true security, on the other. Fighting poverty, which kills millions worldwide, and promoting sustainable development, gets only a fraction in comparison to these so called ‘defense’ spending. In fact, the term ‘defense’ spending, commonly used to describe these costs, is grossly misleading as spending on tanks, bombs, battleships, nukes and so on does little to defend people, but rather defends the interests of those who are in the business of war – manufacturing, trading and subsidizing weapons.

Only last month, we heard the world’s leading scientists warn that climate change will increasingly threat human security and could, if not addressed, fuel insecurity and conflicts. A grim picture, but there is room for hope. A new report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this weekend shows that climate action is in fact an opportunity, not a burden. The report makes the solution crystal clear: transforming the world’s power system from one that is dominated by fossil fuels to one dominated by renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. Renewables – safer, cleaner and now cheaper than ever – hold the key to our future.

Earlier this year, we heard US Secretary of State calling climate change “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction”. It is only right then that money is diverted for defending us from such destruction. That would be a true defense spending. It is coal plants and oil rigs that are in fact weapons of mass destruction – not only destroying our planet, but killing people already. And subsidizing fossil fuels at a total of US$1.9 trillion annually is no less than a crime against humanity.

In light of the rough estimates by the IPCC and others, diverting even half of military spending into preventing climate change and adapting to the impacts we can no longer avoid would bring much more security than any tanks and bombs can ever do. In return, we would get clean and safe energy, clearer skies, healthier oceans and a better future for our children. Just imagine how fast we could achieve the clean energy future climate scientists are calling for if we redirected all this money.

– Blogpost by Jen Maman, Greenpeace International

Emerging Nations Opt for Arms Spending Over Development

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The U.N.’s Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, says it is governments’ responsibility to inform the public about military expenditures – and to justify them.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has relentlessly advocated drastic cuts in global military spending in favour of sustainable development, will be sorely disappointed by the latest findings in a report released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The decline in arms spending in the West, says SIPRI, has been offset by a rise in military expenditures by emerging non-Western and developing nations who are, ironically, the strongest candidates for development aid.

“Four hours of military spending is equal to the total budgets of all international disarmament and non-proliferation organisations combined.” — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Asked whether there are any future prospects of reversing this trend, Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman, director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure Programme, told IPS, “At present, there is little or no prospect of a large-scale transfer of resources from military spending to spending on human and economic development.”

Of the top 15 military spenders in 2013, eight were non-Western nations: China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, South Korea, Brazil, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The Western countries in the top 15 were the United States, France, UK, Germany, Italy and Australia, plus Japan. Canada, a former high spender, dropped out of the list in 2013. The increase in military spending in emerging and developing countries continues unabated, said Perlo-Freeman.

“While in some cases it is the natural result of economic growth or a response to genuine security needs, in other cases it represents a squandering of natural resource revenues, the dominance of autocratic regimes, or emerging regional arms races,” he added.

World military expenditure totalled 1.75 trillion dollars in 2013, a fall of 1.9 percent in real terms since 2012, according to SIPRI. The fall in the global total comes from decreases in Western countries, led by the United States. But military spending in the rest of the world increased by 1.8 percent. Bemoaning the rise in arms spending, the secretary-general said last year the world spends more on the military in one month than it does on development all year.

“And four hours of military spending is equal to the total budgets of all international disarmament and non-proliferation organizations combined,” he noted.

The bottom line: the world is over-armed and peace is under-funded, said Ban. Bloated military budgets, he said, promote proliferation, derail arms control, doom disarmament and detract from social and economic development.

– By Thalif Deen

VIDEO: Bradford’s ‘knit-in’ protesters take action on nuclear weapons

Knitters and crocheters from across the region descended on Bradford’s Centenary Square yesterday to stage a ‘knit-in’ in protest against spending on nuclear weapons.

The Bradford demonstration was one of hundreds taking place across the globe as part of the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending.

The group handed out leaflets and spoke to people in Bradford during the event to express their view that money spent on weapons should be redirected to vital support for public services and renewable energy.

The Bradford ‘knit-In’ will contribute to a planned seven-mile pink scarf to be unveiled in a demonstration on August 9.

Catherine Bann, of Yorkshire CND, said: “Knitting this scarf is a great way of bringing people together to discuss the important issues of the day.”

Click here to watch the video.

‘Most capable destroyer in history’ — with $4 billion price tag — to be christened Saturday at Bath Iron Works

The U.S. Navy will enter a new age Saturday when the first DDG 1000, the USS Zumwalt — “the most capable destroyer in history” — is christened at Bath Iron Works.

The $4 billion guided missile destroyer, designed to provide missile and gun support for troops ashore, boasts advanced technology and the ability to accommodate advanced air missiles, rail guns and lasers. That advanced technology has led the new class to be dubbed “stealth” destroyers.

In November 2001, the Navy introduced the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer “as a transformation in the traditional design of destroyers that would make surface combatants more versatile, more survivable and more relevant to combat ashore,” defense industry analyst Loren Thompson said Tuesday. “I think the lead ship in the class has pretty much borne out [those] claims.”

Click here to read the complete article.

‘Involve civil society in military budget’

Governments must give priority to strengthening national and international security through the promotion of human rights

On the occasion of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, the United Nations Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, calls upon all governments to proactively inform the public about military expenditures and to justify them:

“Every democracy must involve civil society in the process of establishing budgets, and all sectors of society must be consulted to determine what the real priorities of the population are.

“Lobbies, including military contractors and other representatives of the military-industrial complex, must not be allowed to hijack these priorities to the detriment of the population’s real needs.”

The UN has also called on parliaments to implement the will of the people and significantly reduce military expenditures, whether in the field of arms production, military research, military bases abroad, surveillance of private citizens, ‘intelligence’-gathering, or overt and covert military operations.

Click here to read the complete article by Kua Kia Soong, Suaram advisor.