On 18 April, Nonviolent Peaceforce was invited by the Quaker Council for European Affairs to speak at a conference that marked the 6th edition on Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

NP’s Chief Executive Officer, Doris Mariani, spoke on a panel that focused on the European Union policies in support of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. She offered a unique perspective on the role of unarmed civilian peacekeeping, and the humanitarian and cost benefits it provides. Other panels of the day discussed the environment and armed conflict, steps toward realization of sustainable development goals, and a coordinated action plan regarding refugees in Europe.

(Published April 29, 2016)

According to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), world military expenditure totaled almost $1.7 trillion USD in 2015, whereas global money spent on peacekeeping efforts was $9.7 billion USD. By comparison, conflict prevention and resolution/peace and security (CPS) portion of total official development assistance (ODA) came to $3.2 billion USD. This is disproportionate and in many cases does not contribute to the security of citizens. To the contrary, as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has stated, “The world is over-armed and peace is underfunded.”

The main theme of the discussion was to attempt to answer: how could the trillions of dollars being used for military spending be better allocated to support peace and development efforts? The world’s military expenditures are the highest ever measured, yet civilians are at the highest risk of violent conflict since World War II. One year of global military spending could account for 600 years of UN core activities funding – NP and those in attendance at the conference call for greater investment for peace.

This Brussels conference was held in preparation for the International Peace Bureau’s “Disarm! IPB World Congress 2016” meeting in Berlin 30 September – 3 October, 2016.
A brief agenda, topic guide, and speakers can be found on the conference’s website: https://www.ipb2016.berlin/congress/

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