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180 Civil Society Organizations demand that governments reduce their military expenditures
Illustration: GCOMS

180 Civil Society Organizations demand that governments reduce their military expenditures

180 Civil Society Organizations from 33 different countries demand that governments around the world drastically reduce their military expenditures, which reached almost 2 trillion $ in 2020, a 2.6% increase over the previous year.

  • World military expenditure amounted to $1981 billion in 2020, a 2.6% increase over the previous year.
  • In 2020, the biggest spenders were the U.S., China, India, Russia, the UK and Saudi Arabia. Except for Saudi Arabia, they all increased their expenditures over 2019.
  • Military expenditure by the 29 NATO members reached $1103 billion, amounting to 56% of the total military spending in the world. This is an increase of 13.6% compared to 2019.

On Monday, April 26th, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published the new figures for global military spending in 2020. The world spent $1.98 trillion on the military during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, a 2.6% increase over the previous year and the highest figure since the end of the Cold War.

The five biggest spenders in 2020 were the United States, China, India, Russia and the United Kingdom, which together accounted for 62 per cent of world military spending. U.S. military expenditure grew by 4.4 per cent in 2020, to $778 billion. China (1.9 per cent), India (2.1 per cent), Russia (2.5 per cent) and the UK (2.9 percent) all increased their military spending in 2020.

Almost all regions in the world increased their military spending, however, the U.S. remained by far the largest spender in the world, accounting for 39% of global military spending in 2020.

The aggregated military expenditures of NATO member states reached $1103 billion, which accounts for 56% of the world’s total. Nearly all members of the alliance saw their military burden rise in 2020. As a result, 12 NATO members spent 2 per cent or more of their GDP on their militaries, the Alliance’s guideline spending target, compared with 9 members in 2019. France, for example, the 8th biggest spender globally, passed the 2 per cent threshold for the first time since 2009. NATO has increased its military expenditure of 13.6% over the previous year.

The aggregated spending of EU member states amounts to 233 billion, 12% of the world’s total spending, and the 3rd highest after the U.S. and China.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis have generated a global consciousness on the need to invest in human security-oriented sectors, notably healthcare. The latest figures of military expenditure, however, point in the exact opposite direction.

To protest this profoundly misguided budget priorities, and in the context of the Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS), 180 civil society organizations from over 30 different countries have come together to urge governments to drastically reduce their military expenditure and make human security-oriented sectors, such as health and the environment, the priority of public policies and budgets.

See the list of endorsing organizations

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