In 2015 global military spending was 1500 billion euro. This is a disproportionate amount of money, which could be far better spent to ensure security for people. ‘The world is overarmed and peace is underfunded’, stated UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2012.
This is unacceptable. If we want to give peace a real chance, we also have to give it a real budget. More political and humanitarian efforts have to be made to achieve sustainable peace, rather than using a discourse of a “New Cold War” or a “Global War against Terrorism”.
According to the 2016 IPB Statement on the occasion of the 2016 Global Day of Action on Military Spending, the global refugee crisis is only a symptom of a global peace crisis. It is an urgent wake up call for an ambitious peace policy. Therefore a credible security policy needs to put a particular emphasis on peacebuilding, addressing climate change and sustainable development, as many root causes of conflict are non-military in nature. Preferring military “solutions” to such conflict situations is often counterproductive and does not tackle these root causes. Meanwhile, arms exports of EU Member States and other States to notorious
human rights abusing governments continue, despite obligations under the EU Common Position and the international Arms Trade Treaty. This must change. States should find a better balance between military expenditures on the one hand and investments in peacebuilding and conflict prevention, the Green Climate Fund and the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) on the other. Resources must urgently be reallocated towards the latter.
Existing UN conflict prevention and peacebuilding mechanisms should be expanded and be given the necessary resources. It is time to get “back to diplomacy”, as argued by the “Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project” in their report of November 2015. In addition, States should fully engage in the implementation of the UN reviews of the Peacebuilding Architecture, UN peace missions, and Women, Peace and Security.