The GCOMS 2018 Statement
The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded. This claim is now more valid than ever. One of the most urgent tasks of all nations during the next years is to reduce military expenditure.
The world is becoming crazy. Military spending in 2016 amounted to $1.68 trillion. Many governments are planning increases in military budgets together with cuts in health, education and development cooperation. The news on military budget increase proposals in the U.S. is alarming: the Congress recently approved a $165 billion increase in military spending over a two year period. Meanwhile, many other states like Australia, New Zealand, France, UK, Germany, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Spain, Italy and others are following U.S. guidelines without any discussion. Wars in Syria and Yemen are being fuelled by the arms trade while North Korea is being used to justify a new arms race. Japan’s Prime Minister Abe is attempting to amend the war-renouncing Article 9 of their constitution. The European Union will (for the first time in its history) invest money in the near future to develop new weapon systems. This may also trigger an arms race in regions like Africa and Middle East, where significant European exports are directed. We are witnessing massive increases in military spending (including on nuclear weapons, in spite of the Ban Treaty) by the great powers, increasing the danger of disastrous wars.
Weapons and arms trade fuel many conflicts worldwide, and they end up generating refugees who are not then accepted in rich countries. Instead of focusing for example on poverty, energy injustice and on the needs of individuals, northern countries insist on investing in the military, stopping refugees and fighting terrorism with violent measures which worsen the situation in many countries in Africa and other regions. They issue nice statements on poverty and development aid, but at the same time are also signing arms trade and military cooperation agreements. Moreover, instead of tackling the underlying causes of terrorism, governments use terrorism to justify military spending increases. We must oppose such hypocrisy.
The idea of masculinity has always been at the root of violence and militarization, and gender issues are at the heart of GCOMS. Sustainable development, the welfare of the world and the cause of peace requires the maximum participation of women on equal terms with men in all fields.
We need to involve even more citizens and organizations in an open and robust debate on the counter-productive results of military expenditure. More than ever, we urge you to reach out to new partners to work on the on-going Global Campaign on Military Spending, and to make the Global Days of Action on Military Spending a great success!