Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that global military spending now tops $1 trillion per year while funding for development remains woefully low by comparison, in a message urging leaders to harness the growing political will to reduce stockpiles of weapons and redirect expenditure towards peaceful goals.
“The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded,” Ban told participants attending the Religions for Peace Global Youth Campaign on Disarmament for Shared Security conference in Costa Rica last week Saturday.
Ban said that more weapons are being produced, “flooding markets, destabilizing societies and feeding the flames of civil war and terror,” yet a new wave of interest in advancing disarmament goals is sweeping over governments and civil society.
“People everywhere are recognizing as never before the tremendous burdens and risks of continuing to invest vast sums and energies in nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction, small arms, landmines, cluster munitions and other deadly weapons,” said Ban.
Noting that disarmament is back on the global agenda, he stressed that “we must make the most of this new moment of opportunity.”
The Secretary-General said that there can be “no development without peace and no peace without development. Disarmament can provide the means for both.”
Ban was speaking at a three-day event in San Jose, Costa Rica, where almost 150 youth leaders representing the world’s religious traditions came together to commit to disarmament, by developing plans for multi-religious advocacy and action at the national, regional and global levels.