Redirect military budgets to tackle climate change and pandemics

IEP data cited in paper looking at how the post COVID-19 world security order should look like.

Governments should stop spending billions of dollars on weapons and protect citizens from the real threats they face.


Costly distractions

The arms trade is lucrative: sales by the world’s leading arms-producing companies reached $420 billion in 20186. These weapons circulate for decades. Everything from small arms, tanks and aircraft to military goods and services are sold in legal and illegal markets. They end up on the streets and in the hands of militant organizations such as Al-Qaeda. The result? Some 464,000 people died in 2017 through homicides, and 89,000 individuals died in armed conflicts globally (2017 is the latest year for which data are available)7.

These damages caused a loss of nearly 11% of global economic activity in 2019, or almost $2,000 per person, totalling $14.5 trillion4 (see ‘Price of conflict’). This includes losses of jobs and gross domestic product (GDP), decreased productivity and all the expenses of law enforcement, justice systems and incarceration, terrorism, homicides, other violent crime, internal security expenditure and the fear of insecurity throughout society.

Where there is insecurity, economies cannot flourish. Least-developed countries with high levels of violence suffer the most, such as El Salvador, Somalia and Yemen. Countries experiencing armed conflicts, including Syria, South Sudan and Afghanistan, lost up to 60% of their GDP in 20194. Ultimately, military expenditure is responsible for 40.5% of the economic impact of violence4. Yet, last year, 81 countries increased the percentage of their GDP that goes into military budgets4.


To read full article written by Denise Garcia, click here.