Wars, 85 billion dollars a year in the coffers of 5 arms exporting countries, while 9,000 people die of hunger every day in conflict zones
ROME – Global military spending in 2022 reached a record $2.2 trillion, enough to cover more than 42 times the aid required by the United Nations to address the world's worst humanitarian crises ($51.7 billion) and 11 times theOfficial Development Aid globally (equal to 206 billion dollars). This is the alarm raised by OXFAM, on the occasion of the meeting of the UN Security Council, which until tomorrow will be discussing strategies useful for guaranteeing the safety of civilians in countries at war. The urgent call is for policies to be adopted to save the lives of millions of people trapped in conflict zones, acting concretely against the multiplication of wars and the proliferation of weapons. According to estimates, in fact, from 2018 to 2022, the world's expenditure on the import of arms alone averaged 112 billion dollars a year, while every day 9,000 people died of starvation mainly due to the effects produced from the ongoing conflicts.
Major arms exporters. The top five countries in the world for arms exports are United States, Russia, France, China And Germany. They alone are responsible for three-quarters of global trade and have collectively earned an estimated $85 billion a year over the past 4 years. Italy was no less, ranking sixth among the major exporters, with 3.8% of world trade in the same period, behind Germany responsible for 4.2% of global exports.
And those salesmen sit on the UN Security Council. "Paradoxically four of the five permanent members of the Security Council are at the top of global arms sales that fuel wars around the world. – said Francesco Petrelli, policy adviser Of Oxfam Italy on food security – the weapons that are sold are not only responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians, but contribute to reducing the survivors to hunger”.
The export boom: +4.8% in 4 years. Global exports of major conventional weapons systems in the four years under review increased by 4.8% over the previous decade, while nearly 48,000 civilians were killed in 2022 as a result of armed conflicts, which led to displacement forced by nearly 90 million people worldwide. "Frightening numbers, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. - adds Petrelli - The warlords and militias in the pay of the highest bidder are making billions of dollars in profits thanks to the illegal trafficking of small arms that fuel the conflicts in Somalia and South Sudan". Last year alone, ongoing conflicts around the world were a major factor driving 117 million people in 19 countries into extreme hunger. Whole populations, often living in the poorest and most vulnerable countries on the planet, find themselves threatened by war that adds to the climate crisis and economic recession.
In Africa, military expenditures are increasing and those in agriculture are collapsing. In sub-Saharan Africa last year governments spent 19 billion dollars on the armed forces, while supporting agriculture returned to the levels of more than 20 years ago. Only 38 out of 54 African countries have fulfilled the commitment made at the Malabo Conference in 2014 to invest at least 10% of their national budget in agriculture. On the contrary, in countries crossed by bloody conflicts, such as South Sudan, military spending increased by more than 50% last year compared to 2021, while 7.7 million people (63% of the population) are now on the 'brink of famine. This has caused an exponential increase in child marriages, preventing children and young people from studying and having a future worthy of the name. Here it is increasingly difficult to bring aid to the population due to the clashes, with access to food being used as a weapon to obtain political advantages from the parties to the conflict.
Appeal to world leaders. “The great world powers, meeting in the United Nations Security Council, should put peace before profit, access to food before the supply of weapons. Will they be able to? – Petrelli concludes – as Pope Francis has repeatedly reminded us 'we live in a third world war fought piecemeal'. A spiral of violence and inhumanity that must be stopped before it is too late for many".