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Global military spending increase: Militarism will cost us the earth

The five largest military spenders in 2022 were the US (39% of the global total), China (13%), Russia (3.9%), India (3.6%) and Saudi Arabia (3.3%),

Aotearoa New Zealand Campaign on Military Spending

24 April 2023

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Despite the rapidly escalating climate emergency and humanitarian crises around the world, global military spending increased to its highest ever recorded level last year according to new figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) today – the Global Day of Action on Military Spending.SIPRI has estimated global military expenditure last year was at least $2,240 billion (US) – a spending increase of 3.7% in real terms in 2022 (a 6.5% nominal increase in current prices without adjusting for inflation) – which averages out to more than $6.1 billion (US) spent every day. [1]

By way of contrast, on average more than 13,600 children under the age of five died every day last year from mainly preventable causes – lack of access to adequate food, clean water and basic medicines – a figure UNICEF describes as an “immense, intolerable” loss of life. [2]  This 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.

It is inexcusable that many states – including New Zealand – continue to prioritise spending on combat-ready armed forces over human health and wellbeing, and care for the planet…………………………………..

Every dollar of military expenditure is a dollar taken away from socially useful spending – a dollar that could be used to take real action on climate change, to ensure a decent standard of living for all, and to ensure health and social welfare systems can function well in national, regional or global emergencies: it is a dollar that could be used to save lives, to promote climate justice, flourishing communities and care for the planet, rather than being spent on endless preparations for war.

Now more than ever, with the future of life on earth at stake, states must work together to find sustainable solutions, instead of continuing to pour public money into wasteful destructive military activity – the ultimate in unsustainability, with military emissions estimated to be at least 5.5% of the global total.

The five largest military spenders in 2022 were the US (39% of the global total), China (13%), Russia (3.9%), India (3.6%) and Saudi Arabia (3.3%), which together accounted for 63% of world military spending. [1] Military expenditure decreased in Africa (-5.3%) last year, but increased in four of the five geographical regions, with the highest increase in Europe (+13%), followed by the Middle East (+3.2%), then Asia and Oceania (+2.7%) and the Americas (+0.3). Overall in 2022, the military burden (military spending as a share of gross domestic product) globally was 2.2%. [1]New Zealand’s military spendingWhile New Zealand does not feature in the SIPRI table ranking the highest increases in military spending around the world this year as it did in 2020 [3], that is simply because other states increased their spending by more, not because there has been any reduction in New Zealand’s military spending.


April 26, 2023 - Posted by | weapons and war

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