September 16, 2019

Reduction of Military Budgets

General Assembly: Disarmament & International Security Committee

Topic: Reduction of Military Budgets

Since the 1950s, military budgets have been a focal topic when speaking about national resource allocation. High military budgets contribute to the development of new weapons, increasing the number of troops, overall defense strengthening, and more. Nations see military enhancement as a way to protect themselves from the dangers of war or invasion. Because of this, military spending makes up a good percentage of the world’s GDP, with the global military budget hitting $2.2 trillion in 2022. However, while military spending can serve as a protective measure, it can also have negative impacts on economic growth. The allocation of funds towards military budgets can limit the amount of resources available for other important sectors such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure. As a result, some economists have observed that the reduction of military spending could lead to positive impacts on a nation’s economic growth.

Article 26 of the United Nations (UN) Charter documents the early efforts to reduce military spending, noting a direct correlation between military disarmament and economic well-being. Towards the end of the Cold War, the UN focused on reducing military budgets, creating the United Nations Report on Military Expenditures to promote transparency. After the Cold War, no serious or sustained work within the United Nations on the relationship between military spending and economic indicators for growth and sustainability, as pointed out in the UN disarmament affairs.

In 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recorded a steady drop in the global military budget as many countries focused on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is important to note that some countries have instead strengthened their military due to heightened defense risks. For example, in 2022, Ukraine had a 640% increase in military spending in response to its ongoing crisis with Russia. Heightened global risks around the world motivate many nations to increase their military spending, reversing the actions taken to reduce budgets. However, it is crucial to balance military spending with the allocation of funds towards other important sectors to ensure long-term economic growth and sustainability

Useful Links:

United Nations efforts to reduce military expenditures

Military Spending in the Post-Pandemic Era – IMF F&D

The Effects of Military Spending on Economic Growth – War Prevention Initiative

Mapped: World’s Top 40 Largest Military Budgets (

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