April 17th was the Second Annual Global Day of Action on Military Spending.
The first Global Day of Action on Military Spending, co-organized by the International Peace Bureau and the Institute for Policy Studies, took place in 2011. That event was such a success that the organizers decided to hold it every April 17th.
In addition to the wide range of activities undertaken by participating groups, the Global Day of Action coincides with the release of the latest military expenditure figures compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
This year’s figures show that world military spending totalled $1.74 trillion dollars in 2011, up only slightly from 2010’s total:
The small rise of just 0.3 per cent in 2011 marks the end of a run of continuous increases in military spending between 1998 and 2010, including an annual average increase of 4.5 per cent between 2001 and 2009.
Six of the world’s top military spenders—Brazil, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom and the United States—made cuts in their military budgets in 2011, in most cases as part of attempts to reduce budget deficits. Meanwhile other states, notably China and Russia, increased their military spending markedly.
‘The after-effects of the global economic crisis, especially deficit-reduction measures in the USA and Europe, have finally brought the decade-long rise in military spending to a halt—at least for now’, stated Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Project.
This year’s Global Day of Action on Military Spending featured over 100 events that took place in every inhabited continent on the globe, all with the common goal of convincing national governments to shift away from massive military spending and promoting a broader dialogue of human security and peaceful alternatives.