Rechannelling expenditure on defence

Reducing military spending
Reducing expenditure on arms
Reducing expenditure on defence
The world spends S1,000 billion on the military every year, and many countries expend more on the military than on social sectors. In high-income countries, military spending has been increasing at roughly the s am e rate as GDP. In developing countries, military expenditure has been declining - from 6-7% of GDP in the late 1970s to about 4-5% in the second half of the 1980s. This is in part accounted for by drastic reductions in military spending in the Middle East and in Latin America.

The level of resources identified in Agenda 21 is not large relative to global expenditure by the public sector. A substantial proportion of this public expenditure is allocated to the military. In countries with diminishing security concerns, opportunities to rechannel cutbacks in military expenditures into activities related to sustainable development could potentially generate large sums for Agenda 21 programmes, even if the cutbacks are relatively small in terms of percentage. For this mechanism to succeed, sustainable development concerns must out-compete claims from other sectors.

During the 1990s, military expenditures fell in most areas of the world. In 1997, world military expenditure was about US$740 000 million - the equivalent of US$125 per capita. It fell by an average of 4.5 per cent a year during the decade 1988-97. The ratio of global military expenditure to gross national product fell to 3 per cent in 1994, a new low for the entire period since 1960, compared to 5.5 per cent in 1984. For developing countries, the ratio fell consistently over the decade, from 6.1 per cent in 1984 to 2.6 per cent in 1994, except for an increase in 1990.

By the year 2000, the military expenditures of the world were equivalent to 35% of the total yearly income of nearly two billion people.
Public expenditure on defence in the developing countries declined. However, this amount was a falling share of a total which was itself an increasing proportion of GNP. Thus when these expenditure categories are expressed as proportions not of total central governmental expenditure but of GNP, it transpires, paradoxically, that public expenditure on the military. It would be highly desirable if developing countries in the 1990s could take advantage of the improved international political climate and curtail military expenditure, thereby releasing additional resources for expenditure on human development and for physical investment.
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies