‘A colossal waste’: Nobel Prize winners demand a 2% cut in military spending worldwide | The United Nations
More than 50 Nobel laureates signed an open letter calling on all countries to cut military spending by 2% per year over the next five years and put half of the money saved into a United Nations fund to fight against pandemics, the climate crisis and extreme phenomena. poverty.
Coordinated by Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, the letter is supported by a large group of scientists and mathematicians, including Sir Roger Penrose, and is published at a time when rising global tensions have resulted in steadily rising arms budgets.
“Individual governments are under pressure to increase military spending because others are doing it,” signatories said in support of the new Peace Dividend campaign. “The feedback mechanism supports a spiraling arms race – a colossal waste of resources that could be used much more wisely. “
The high-level group says the plan amounts to a “simple and concrete proposal for humanity”, although there is no realistic prospect that cuts in military spending will be adopted by large or medium-sized governments. , or that the sums saved be returned. to the UN and its agencies.
Total military spending amounted to $ 1,981 billion (£ 1,496 billion) last year, an increase of 2.6% according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The top five spenders were the United States ($ 778 billion), China ($ 252 billion), India ($ 72.9 billion), Russia ($ 61.7 billion) and the UK ($ 59.2 billion) – all of which increased their budgets in 2020.
Growing tensions between Russia and the West over situations such as Ukraine and between China and the United States and its Pacific allies over Taiwan have contributed to the increase in spending, while the latter years, some non-proliferation treaties such as the INF deal, which kept nuclear missiles out of Europe, were allowed to expire.
The signatories of the letter argue that arms races can lead to “deadly and destructive conflicts” and add: “We have a simple proposal for humanity: the governments of all UN member states are negotiating a joint reduction. of their military spending by 2% each year for five years. “
Other supporters of the letter include Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, a former Nobel Peace Prize laureate, as well as Cambridge University biologist and professor Sir Venki Ramakrishnan and American molecular biologist Carol Greider.
They call on the political leaders of the world to allow that “half of the resources freed by this agreement” be allocated to “a global fund, under the supervision of the UN, to face the serious common problems of humanity: pandemics, climate change and extreme poverty ”. Such a fund, they say, could grow to $ 1 billion by 2030.