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Global military spending increases again

Global military spending increases again

Peace Movement Aotearoa

24 April 2017


According to figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) today, during the Global Days of Action on Military Spending, world military expenditure in 2016 totalled an estimated US$1,686 billion, an increase of 0.4 per cent in real terms from 2015. [1]

Every dollar of military expenditure is a dollar taken away from socially useful spending - a dollar that could be used to ensure a decent standard of living for all and to save lives, rather than being used to destroy them. Last year's global military spending averaged out to more than US$4.6 billion every day, while an average of more than 16,000 children under the age of five died every day from mainly preventable causes - lack of access to adequate food, clean water and basic medicines. That is one of the prices paid, the collateral damage that is seldom talked about, for maintaining armed forces in a state of combat readiness around the world. [2]

Just twelve days of military expenditure would eradicate extreme poverty everywhere, and just five weeks of military expenditure would ensure that five of the key UN Sustainable Development Goals are met. [2]

Military expenditure in North America saw its first annual increase (1.7 per cent) since 2010. Central, Eastern and Western Europe also recorded annual increases of 2.4, 3.5 and 2.6 per cent, respectively, while Asia and Oceania’s spending rose by 4.6 per cent in 2016. By contrast, military spending fell in Central America and the Caribbean (–9.1 per cent), South America (–7.5 per cent), Africa (–1.3 per cent), and the total of countries in the Middle East for which data is available. [3]

The United States remains the country with the highest annual military expenditure in the world. US military spending grew by 1.7 per cent between 2015 and 2016 to $611 billion. Military expenditure by China, which was the second largest spender in 2016, increased by 5.4 per cent to $215 billion, a much lower rate of growth than in previous years. Russia increased its spending by 5.9 per cent in 2016 to $69.2 billion, making it the third largest spender. Saudi Arabia was the third largest spender in 2015 but dropped to fourth position in 2016. Spending by Saudi Arabia fell by 30 per cent in 2016 to $63.7 billion, despite its continued involvement in regional wars. India’s military expenditure grew by 8.5 per cent in 2016 to $55.9 billion, making it the fifth largest spender. [1]

Military spending in Asia and Oceania amounted to $450 billion in 2016, an increase of 4.6 per cent on 2015, and five of the top fifteen global spenders in 2016 are in Asia and Oceania: China, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia (in ranked order). China had by far the highest military spending in the region: an estimated $215 billion, or 48 per cent of regional spending. This amount is almost four times that of India’s total, which is the second largest in the region at $55.9 billion. [3]

New Zealand's military spending

In last year's Budget, New Zealand's military spending rose by (NZ)$580 million to a total of $3.69 billion. [4] In addition to the annual military Budget, in June 2016 a further $20 billion was allocated over the next 15 years for increased combat capability, new offensive weapons systems and warships, and to establish a new cyberwarfare capacity. [5] What a shocking waste of public money - especially at a time when there is an increasingly desperate need for increased social spending to house the homeless, and the numbers of children living in a family with an income below the poverty line continues to rise (in 2016, 28% of children were living in a family with an income below the poverty line, and 14% of children were living in conditions of material hardship). [6]

To mark the Global Days of Action on Military Spending, a 'Welfare not Warfare' forum will be held in Wellington on Friday, 28 April - join us for a discussion on government spending priorities, with Paul Barber, Policy Advisor, New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, and Edwina Hughes, Coordinator, Peace Movement Aotearoa, from 1pm to 2pm, at St Andrew's on the Terrace. Your RSVP is essential because space is limited, please RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/1809560449363421 or email Peace Movement Aotearoa, pma@xtra.co.nz [7]

Resources and references:

Aotearoa New Zealand Campaign on Military Spending - http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/gdams.htm

[1] World military spending: increases in the USA and Europe, decreases in oil-exporting countries, SIPRI, 24 April 2017 - http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/gdams.htm and https://www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2017/world-military-spending-increases-usa-and-europe
[2] Time for action on military spending, Peace Movement Aotearoa, 24 April 2016 - leaflet at www.converge.org.nz/pma/milspend-leaflet.pdf - poster at www.converge.org.nz/pma/milspend-poster.pdf
[3] Trends in world military expenditure 2016, SIPRI, 24 April 2017 - http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/gdams.htm and https://www.sipri.org
[4] Budget 2016, Peace Movement Aotearoa, 25 May 2016 -
https://www.facebook.com/PeaceMovementAotearoa/photos/a.116526771728034.9538.116517195062325/1042570485790320
[5] Government spending priorities, Peace Movement Aotearoa, 9 June 2016 - https://www.facebook.com/PeaceMovementAotearoa/photos/a.116526771728034.9538.116517195062325/1050846581629377/?type=3
[6] Child Poverty Monitor 2016 - http://childpoverty.org.nz
[7] Poster and Facebook event link - http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/gdams.htm

ends

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