OPPORTUNITY COSTS : MILITARY SPENDING AND THE UN’s DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
A view from the International Peace Bureau
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“While the level of global military expenditure is today higher than ever, at an estimated $1738 billions per annum, many states fail to increase their foreign development aid to the UN target of 0.7% of GDP, and to tackle effectively their economic and social development challenges. To counter these imbalances, the International Peace Bureau advocates general reductions in excessive military spending and a shift of resources to projects addressing human needs, both domestic and international. This paper outlines the basic data in this field and makes the case for such a shift.
Since the establishment of the United Nations, and indeed much earlier too, the high cost of the defence sector has often been debated among States. The comparison between resources for armament and those made available for development became seen as scandalous during the Cold War, and many resolutions and action plans were adopted to challenge the disparity. Yet they failed to halt the arms races of the last century. True, military expenditure was somewhat reduced during the decade 1989-98; but it has risen again, and dramatically so in the years following the 9-11 attacks. We trace the outline of a disappointing history.
In another section of the paper, we survey some of the international initiatives preparing for the task of defining the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda. In IPB’s view, it is vital that disarmament as well as other security and peace-related issues be included in these debates and goals.”