WILPF Statement on the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals

Linked on our blogs with Women’s International League for Peace and FreedomWILPF. – Published on Peace Earth and Justice News, by Joan Russow, September 21, 2010.

… The continued investment in militarism does not make the world safer. Weapons cannot address the main threats people all over the world are facing today, such as natural disasters, increased food prices, and lack of adequate health care, education, and a clean environment. Yet these threats are aggravating arms races and weapons development. SIPRI has warned that growing competition for natural resources “may lead to increased military spending as a means of protecting resources from internal or external threats, while resource revenues are often a source of funding for arms purchases.” Therefore, in the context of the 2010 UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals, WILPF urges UN member states and civil society to consider, what would you rather pay for: 

  • One year of the world’s military spending, or over 24 years of the additional foreign aid required to reach the MDGs by 2015?
  • One year of the world’s military spending, or 700 years of the UN regular budget?
  • One year of the world’s military spending, or 2928 years of the new UN women’s agency?

Article 26 of the UN Charter mandates the UN Security Council with formulating a plan to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources. The Security Council has entirely neglected this responsibility and its permanent members have instead engaged in weapons profiteering and arms races, resulting in crises of international, national, and human security and of sustainable development.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom calls on all governments to:

  • reduce military spending and redirect that expenditure to meet human and environmental needs, including fulfilling the MDGs;
  • report on military spending and arms trade through the established UN mechanisms;
  • support a robust legally-binding arms trade treaty that prevents arms transfers where there is a risk of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and that acknowledges the impact of the arms trade on socio-economic development; and
  • call on the UN Security Council to report on progress made towards a plan to reduce the human and economic resources spent on armaments and indicate an intention to evaluate the Security Council’s performance and initiatives towards advancing article 26 in the next General Assembly session.
  • WILPF also calls on civil society to push their governments to meet these goals and to make the reduction of militarism a global norm by reframing the concept of security with a premium on universal human and ecological security, multilateralism, and a commitment to cooperative, nonviolent means of conflict resolution.

We urge all governments present in New York this week to commit to making their MDG policies and strategies consistent with their obligations under Article 26 of the UN Charter and to remember that establishing peace and security for all humans is not separate from actions to fight poverty—it is central to these efforts.

Resources and further reading: … (full text).

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