Global military expenditures in 2020 reached $1.9 trillion

Ms Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs has revealed that military expenditures in 2020 reached $1,981 trillion, which translates to approximately $252 per person in one year.

“In comparison, only $115.95 per person was spent on bilateral aid on average in 2018, out of which a meagre 0.2 per cent went directly to women’s rights organizations – a percentage that has not changed in a decade,” Ms Nakamitsu stated.

Ms Nakamitsu in a UN Women document obtained by the Ghana News Agency at Tema expressed concern that in spite of the fact that United Nations had made reducing military budgets a core objective since its founding, it had not yielded positive results.

The UN Women document titled: “For a safer and more resilient world, put people before runaway military spending”.

She said nonetheless, attention to the problem had dwindled in recent decades. Bloated military budgets held the global spotlight throughout much of the cold war. But in the years since, relatively few voiced alarm as military outlays more than doubled.

On the impact of the COVID-19, Ms Nakamitsu noted that the pandemic had offered us a rare chance to “reset” our approach to security in a way that also advances gender equality.

“As two United Nations leaders – the UN Women working for gender equality and the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs focusing on disarmament we believe three things need to happen.

“First, we must refuse to shy away from hard questions. Whose security is protected by modernizing or expanding weapons, like nuclear bombs, that would result in a human catastrophe, with disproportionate impact on women and girls, if used?

She stressed that to end the global arms addiction, decision-makers need to take a more human-centred approach to security, recognizing how countries have pursued disarmament for centuries as a way to protect themselves, look out for each other and prevent needless human suffering.

“This will require political will and a revitalization of diplomacy over investment in huge militaries,” she noted.

The UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs said the second thing which happened was the voices calling for an end to rampant militarization that needed to be taken seriously.

“Many women organizations have been pushing back against runaway military spending for more than a century, while feminist movements have been key to critically examining whether our governments’ investments in strengthening security have actually had the opposite effect.

“They are part of a multi-generational, multi-sectoral drive for change. We must hear these messages loud and clear, and create conditions to include them in policy-making,” she stated.

On the third issue Ms Nakamitsu said; “we need action by our elected officials to stop spending so much money on weapons. If our leaders instead prioritize investments in social protections, like equal access to quality health care and education for all, they can bring us closer to achieving global goals, including on gender equality.

“Such investments must be seen for what they are: down payments to make our societies more resilient, equal and secure”.

The UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs urged governments to take a stand by sharing concrete commitments to begin redirecting resources towards a more peaceful and secure future that benefits us all; “This is not a utopian ideal, but an achievable necessity”.

Source: GNA

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