Sustainable Disarmament for Sustainable Development is the IPB’s main programme, whose main purposes are to press for an end to the over-funding of military establishments and for the creation of new funds to tackle human insecurity and common threats to the planet. In addition, we support all efforts to limit or eliminate weapons that impact negatively on communities in conflict zones.
IPB’s view is that weapons and military preparations have devastating effects, not only on those who are caught up in war, but also on the process of sustainable development. They represent a massive distortion of the use of humanity’s precious resources and talents.
Impacts on development include contamination and loss of agricultural lands; loss of employment after attacks with small arms or landmine/cluster munitions; increased health care costs for communities affected by war (including long-term support for the victims); increased prostitution and abuse; costs of reconstruction buildings and infrastructure; and so on.
The aim of our programme is to build an international civil society alliance bringing together disarmament, peace, anti-poverty, environmental and development aid organisations working on disarmament for development.
This work builds on the positions taken by member states (sometimes unanimously) at the UN general Assembly and in other fora, in favour of a substantial transfer of resources from the military to the social sector.
We base our work on the article 26 of the charter of the United Nations: In order to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources, the Security Council shall be responsible for formulating, with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee referred to in Article 47, plans to be submitted to the Members of the United Nations for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments.
We focus on three broad areas:
1. Military vs. social (development) spending
The world diverts huge amounts of resources to the defence sector, leaving basic needs such as food, health, education, employment and environmental challenges greatly under-funded. The imbalance between defence and social or development aid budgets is striking in most countries. Yet despite the global economic crisis and world public opinion opposed to military spending excesses, there are few real signs that governments are ready at this point to initiate a radical shift in spending priorities.
In collaboration with the Institute for Policy Research (IPS) in Washington DC, IPB launched the Global Day of Action on Military Spending in 2011. Since then, IPB helps coordinate the different partner organizations, as well as organizing its own events on that day.
2. Weapons and their impacts on communities
Weapons have devastating impacts, especially in the developing world and in conflict zones. This area of work includes primarily small arms, landmines and cluster munitions, depleted uranium (DU), and other conventional weapons, plus the international production of, and trade in, these weapons. IPB supports disarmament campaigns in their work, with studies on the economic dimensions of these weapons and by adding a development perspective.
3. A range of related issues
In each case IPB seeks not only to analyse these phenomena but also to actively support and link together the various related civil society campaigns.
IPB’s main activities are