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United Nations Report on Military Expenditures
Countries can report to the UN their military spending in the previous year. Such transparency may increase confidence within regions and beyond. By making the figures publicly available, the UN encourages their verification and analysis.
Over the past century, Governments have sought to agree on reductions in military expenditures and to increase transparency or at least be open about how much countries spend on their military. They did so in the League of Nations, and later in the UN. Early proposals in the UN focused on reducing expenditures of militarily important States, with a view to freeing up funds for development aid.
Those attempts to agree on reductions of military expenditures were unfruitful. Attention turned towards greater transparency in military spending. A UN Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures was established — recently renamed United Nations Report on Military Expenditures — under which countries annually provide national reports on their military spending.
The original goal of the UN Report on Military Expenditures — to facilitate reduction of the biggest military budgets — has long been overlooked, but remains vital given that global spending is well over 1.5 trillion dollars per year.