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BRIEFING  - March 23 , 2011

To learn more about the Millenium Development Goals, click on the graphic

Past Briefings:

February 9, 2011
The role of civil society in eradicating poverty

January 26, 2011
Social development: Making people, not profits, a priority

January 12, 2011
Climate change: ‘There is much to be done’

December 29, 2010
Iraq: UN affirms progress despite extremist violence

December 15, 2010
Opportunity for progress in Gaza; Sudan referendum

December 1, 2010
Observing a day of solidarity with the Palestinian people

Military spending does little to secure peace

…The World Food Summit estimates that $30 billion a year could eradicate world hunger. That is what our world spends on the military in a single week.

Each year prior to their annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development meet in New York with the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). As might be expected, the uneven progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was addressed. Particular emphasis was given to food production, the creation of employment opportunities, the need to be much more pro-active in developing alternative sources of energy, the issue of debt and the need to build infrastructure to support a new way of living together on a sorely threatened planet. Another looming reality is the potential for a devastating food crisis, given increasingly volatile food prices and the need of many countries to import food.

The NGO Committee on Financing for Development submitted an intervention at this meeting, regarding “innovative sources of financing for development.” One of the points made was the absolute need to address global military expenditures. According to the Global Issues web site, there has been a 45 percent increase in global military expenditures over the past decade. At the same time, poverty, hunger, violence and climate change have escalated at an alarming rate. It would seem that at the end of the day, this level of military spending has assured instability and inequity, but has done little to secure peace.

The Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Secretariat of the Unions of Superiors General of Women and Men (USG/UISG), located in Rome, is making an effort to bring this matter of grave concern to our attention. A Global Day of Action on Military Spending has been set for April 12, 2011. The date was selected to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s annual report, which will include revised figures on military spending. On this day, people from all over the world will engage in action to focus public, political and media attention on the crying need for new global priorities.

To quote from the communication received from the above mentioned commission:

In 2010, $1.53 trillion was spent on the military around the world. That is an almost inconceivable amount of money. To put this number in perspective, the World Food Summit estimates that $30 billion a year could eradicate world hunger. That is what our world spends on the military in a single week. In light of the extent of world hunger and poverty, we consider such a price tag as ethically bankrupt. There are too many other priorities that require financial inversion: poverty, climate change, job creation.

Some of the organizations that support the campaign are:

Obviously, somebody benefits from military spending—but it is not people living in poverty. Lack of the basic necessities of life—clean water, sanitation, health care, education, employment—are a great threat to international peace and security, as the fight for survival will continue to feed civil unrest. The United Nations was established on the three pillars of peace and security, human rights and development. Pope Paul VI offered a new perspective on this when he said that “development is the new name for peace.” I urge you to keep in mind the April 12th Global Day of Action on Military Spending, and participate in whatever way you can to urge world leaders to reconsider their priorities in favor of people, and our one, fragile home, Earth.

Margaret Mayce

Margaret Mayce, OP (DLC/Amityville)
NGO in Special Consultative Status at the United Nations
Dominican Leadership Conference
211 East 43 St. Rm 704
New York, NY 10017
email: Margaret Mayce, OP

Dominican Leadership Conference

Building relationships and collaborating in the mission of preaching the Gospel
29000 West Eleven Mile Road
Farmington Hills MI 48336
248-536-3234 Contact: Executive Director