4 October 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Trillion-Dollar Military Expenditure Could Have Helped Fund Millennium Goals,


Secretary-General Says in Message to Meeting of Youth Disarmament Campaign


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Religions for Peace meeting on “Arms Down! Global Youth Campaign for Shared Security”, delivered by Sergio Duarte, United Nations High Representative for Disarmament, in New York today, 4 October:

I am pleased to send my greeting to Religions for Peace.  Your meeting takes place less than two weeks after the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals Summit.  Since the Millennium Development Goals were first articulated a decade ago, world military expenditure has risen by 50 per cent to more than $1.5 trillion.  This money could surely have been much better spent on poverty reduction, climate change mitigation and adaptation, food and nutrition security, women’s and children’s health and other global development challenges.

I welcome the contribution that your “Arms Down! Global Youth Campaign for Shared Security” is making to raising awareness about the importance of reducing military spending and ridding the world of nuclear weapons.  Increasing momentum on these issues has been among my key priorities.

Disarmament and non-proliferation are essential not simply for international peace and security, but across the international agenda.  They can foster confidence among nations and strengthen regional and international stability.  They are integral to realizing the vision of the United Nations Charter.  This impressive petition from more than 20 million young people of faith from all regions is testament to a groundswell of civil-society backing for these goals.

Thank you for supporting the United Nations in our work to create a more tolerant, peaceful and prosperous world for all.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record