September 16, 2019
 In 2023-Reduction of Military Budgets

Country: Canada
Delegate Name: Nova Wilson

Since the era of the Cold War, the United Nations (UN) has aimed to reduce military spending within the broader scope of negotiations on general and complete disarmament. In 1981 the UN developed the United Nations Report on Military Expenditures (MilEx)— previously called the UN Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures. This was created to “facilitate reduction of military expenditures—gradually gave way to another important goal: to increase transparency and build confidence among States” (“Military Expenditures – UNODA”). With the reduced military budgets the UN hopes that States would allocate the money to economic and social developments, especially for developing countries. Samuel Perlo-Frreman from the Campaign Against Arms Trade argues in “How unconstrained military spending harms international security” that there are four core reasons that he believes the continual growth of military spending negatively impacts international security: “First, it promotes self-reinforcing “cycles of insecurity”. Secondly, it can contribute to technological advancements in weapons systems with highly unpredictable consequences. Thirdly, it is often associated with high levels of corruption and state predation. Finally, continuous growth in military spending absorbs political attention and material resources that could otherwise be devoted to more pressing security challenges, in particular, the devastating effects of the climate crisis” (“UNODA Launches Occasional Papers on Rethinking Unconstrained Military Spending – UNODA”). However, the UN also supports the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which requires all of its members to spend two percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on military expenditures.

Canada believes that it is important to have military readiness in a world that is growing increasingly dangerous. Although Canada has not been meeting the NATO standard spending of two percent of a country’s GDP set in 2014, rather spending approximately 1.29% in 2023, Canada does plan to spend closer to the standard in the near future. By 2026-27 Canada plans to be spending $39.7 billion on national defense compared to $18.9 in 2016-17. The military budget for the coming years already has many allocations, including the purchase of 88 F-35 fighter jets.

Defense budgets have long been debated on the international stage, especially since the cold war. Canada would not support a reduction in military budgets as we need 21st-century defenses to meet 21st-century aggressions. Investing in the Department(s) of defense can help bolster Armed Forces, support culture, and reinforce worldwide cyber security. It can also help in the constant battle against terrorist group, ISIS. Military spending also supports other industries such as manufacturing, so the reduction of military budgets would hurt other parts of the international economy.

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