30/04/2020 |

UNODA Occasional Papers No. 35 ‘Rethinking Unconstrained Military Spending’

Coinciding with the ongoing Global Days of Action on Military Spending and complementary to the recent release of the annual military spending data by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the Office for Disarmament Affairs is pleased to publish the second volume, UNODA Occasional Papers 35, on rethinking unconstrained military spending.This publication addresses the issue of military spending from various angles by examining the impact of military expenditures on international security; the relationship between military spending and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the importance of gender perspectives in rethinking unconstrained military spending; and lessons learned from economic conversion movements. It has been published in support of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament to promote renewed research and analysis on the relationship between military spending and economic and social development. Authors include Samuel Perlo-Freeman (Campaign Against Arms Trade), Nan Tian, Diego Lopes da Silva & Alexandra Kuimova (SIPRI), Ray Acheson & Madeleine Rees (WILPF), Miriam Pemberton (Institute for Policy Studies) and William Hartung (Center for International Policy). (UNODA)

The United Nations Charter reflects an explicit understanding of the link between disarmament and development. Article 26 recognizes the need to ensure “the maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s economic and human resources”. Despite this clear, global commitment, military spending has seen its largest annual increase in a decade, reaching $1917 billion in 2019—a level not seen since the height of the cold war.

Rethinking unconstrained military spending constitutes an important component of the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament, Securing Our Common Future. In a deteriorating international security environment, reducing military budgets becomes ever-more essential.

By creating opportunities to redirect funds from the military to economic and social development, a reduction in military expenditure can also make a key contribution to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In support of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda for Disarmament, the Office for Disarmament Affairs is publishing a two-part series of Occasional Papers on rethinking unconstrained military spending intended to promote renewed research on the relationship between military expenditure and economic and social development.

Released in October 2019, the first volume, UNODA Occasional Papers No. 33 by Michael Spies from the Office for Disarmament Affairs, provides a historical overview of United Nations efforts to reduce military expenditures.