Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Armaments, Disarmament and International Security
SIPRI’s annual compendium of data and analysis of developments in security and
conflicts, military spending and armaments and non-proliferation, arms control
and disarmament

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.’

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.
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