A Window of Opportunity for Arms Control in 2008–2009

June 17th, 2008 - by admin

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) – 2008-06-17 22:52:01


A Window of Opportunity for Arms Control in 2008–2009
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

The next 12 months promise the beginnings of the first serious discussions of arms control and disarmament in more than a decade, according to Dr Bates Gill, Director of SIPRI, speaking at the launch of SIPRI Yearbook 2008.

As shown in the new edition of the SIPRI Yearbook:

• Armed conflicts are far more complex and intractable than is often thought and the traditional classification of conflicts is breaking down.

• Military spending, arms production and international arms transfers are all on the rise:

• world military spending totalled $1339 billion in 2007, a real-terms increase of 6% since 2006;

• arms sales by the 100 largest arms-producing companies in 2006 increased by 8% in nominal terms over 2005;

• international transfers of major conventional weapons were 7% higher over the period 2003– 2007 than in 2002–2006.

• While 8 states possess almost 10,200 operational nuclear weapons, many arms control and nonproliferation agreements are faltering or making little progress.

• Efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction—nuclear, biological or chemical—are increasingly focused on individuals and non-state groups, rather than states. In response to these challenges, there is growing urgency around the globe to bring new life and a mainstream momentum to arms control.

There are new leaders in the UN, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the UK and, from January 2009, the USA—who will find it politically possible to take concrete action on the arms control and disarmament front. Encouraging technological developments allow greater certainty in the monitoring and verification of arms control agreements.

‘The movement to reinvigorate arms control efforts must stake common ground across the political divides of right and left, “doves” and “hawks”, nationalists and internationalists, hope and fear,’ said Gill. A global consensus on arms control and disarmament must include both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states and be supported by think tanks and other non-governmental organizations.

‘Voices from across the political spectrum are coming to recognize again the value of arms control in the face of looming threats to humankind,’ said Gill, ‘Although we face tremendous obstacles, a new window of opportunity is opening to realize constructive progress on arms control and disarmament. It is clearly in the interest of citizens and governments alike to take pragmatic and positive steps in the right direction.’

Press enquiries: to contact Bates Gill or the other authors of the SIPRI Yearbook, for summaries and full texts of Yearbook chapters and for any further information, contact Evamaria Loose-Weintraub (el-weintraub@sipri.org) or Nenne Bodell (bodell@sipri.org), or telephone +46 8 655 97 00

In SIPRI Yearbook 2008, SIPRI reports that

• There were 14 major armed conflicts in 2007. With the breakdown of the traditional classification of conflicts, new approaches to conflict resolution are needed. Violent groups should be integrated into political processes, not marginalized.

• 61 peace operations were conducted in 2007, two more than in 2006 and the highest number since 1999, and the number of personnel deployed to such operations reached an all-time high of 169 467. With this growth, the crucial pre-mission phase of a peace operation deployment is becoming more complex.

• World military spending totalled $1339 billion in 2007, corresponding to 2.5% of world GDP and $202 per capita. This is a real-terms increase of 6% since 2006 and of 45% since 1998. The factors driving increases in world military spending include aspiration to global or regional power status, actual or potential conflicts, and the availability of economic resources.

• Global arms production is increasing. Arms sales by the 100 largest arms-producing companies (the ‘SIPRI Top 100’) amounted to $315 billion in 2006, an increase of 8% in nominal terms over 2005. US companies dominate the Top 100, both numerically and financially, with West European companies some way behind.

• International transfers of major conventional weapons over the period 2003–2007 were 7% higher than in 2002–2006. The 5 largest arms suppliers for the period 2003–2007—the USA, Russia, Germany, France and the UK—accounted for about 80% of the volume of transfers.

• Russia’s new-found self-confidence, supported by revenue from its natural resources, is allowing it to assert itself more on the international stage. However, Russia appears eager to maintain cooperative relations with the West and is unlikely to risk challenging it too forcefully.

• The role of export controls in supporting the main multilateral non-proliferation treaties is now supplemented by the important role that they play in implementing decisions of the UN Security Council on particular countries (such as Iran or North Korea).

• Experts widely agree that another influenza pandemic is on the horizon, jeopardizing global health and security.

SIPRI Yearbook 2008 is published on behalf of SIPRI by Oxford University Press (ISBN 978-0-19-954895-8, £85). Further details are at yearbook2008.sipri.org

The SIPRI Yearbook is a compendium of data and analysis in the areas of
• Security and conflicts
• Military spending and armaments
• Non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament Highlights of the 39th edition include special studies on
• the human security approach to direct and structural violence
• integrating gender in post-conflict security sector reform
• US ballistic missile defence programmes
• nuclear forensic analysis
• international public health diplomacy and the global surveillance of avian influenza along with coverage of developments during 2007 in
• Euro-Atlantic security institutions and relationships
• armed conflicts
• peace operations
• military expenditure
• arms production
• international arms transfers
• nuclear arms control and non-proliferation
• world nuclear forces and fissile material stocks
• reducing security threats from chemical and biological materials
• conventional arms control
• controls on security-related international transfers
• arms control and disarmament agreements
• international organizations and intergovernmental bodies

Press enquiries: for summaries and full texts of these SIPRI Yearbook chapters, to contact the authors and for any further information, contact Evamaria Loose-Weintraub, SIPRI Public Affairs Coordinator (el-weintraub@sipri.org) or Nenne Bodell (bodell@sipri.org), or telephone +46 8 655 97 00