SCRAP-GDAMS will coincide with SIPRI’s release of their annual report on military spending. Though not released at the time of writing, SIPRI’s data for the year 2011 will likely confirm the trend of the last decade: military spending remains an important component of states’ budgets and GDPs, and profits from arms transfers continue to report millions to industrialised economies.
Hence, while states in their majority continue to read security in national, military terms, human security remains very weak. The year 2011 was particularly conflictive and 2012 is reaching new alarming levels, particularly in the Middle East. Sino-American relations remain tense and the situation in North-East Asia is also fluctuating.
Other issues receive less immediate attention yet are as concerning as the above, for example the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh or the numerous ongoing conflicts in Africa where small and light weapons, easily carried by child soldiers, continue to kill thousands in intra-state conflicts. Issues concerning nuclear weapons attract more attention than those concerning conventional armament or light weaponry. Further since 9/11 mainstream attention has gradually shifted from state power to international terrorism. Yet all these matters are interlinked: while often not the immediate cause, states’ military spending, armies, and arms trade make war and conflict more probable.
SIPRI’s annual report on military spending will therefore most likely tell us the following: that governments and the military industrial complex continue to do business as usual and that such business is fostering conflict and war around the world. This, in turn, will highlight the threat that arms pose to human security and the need for more action and new proposals in the disarmament front. This is why SCRAP is important.
SCRAP, or Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation, is an innovative and creative project that seeks the adoption of an international framework on global disarmament centred on three mutually-reinforcing pillars: nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction, conventional, and humanitarian disarmament.
After the Special Sessions on Disarmament of the late seventies and of the eighties, disarmament almost vanished from the agenda giving way to a pervasive talk on non-proliferation and lately counter-proliferation. Yet today disarmament is as necessary as it ever was especially considering that climate change is likely to bring about more conflict as resources become scarcer. This is supported by numerous states and organisations, at least rhetorically, and by millions of people around the globe.
Rather than replacing existing disarmament campaigns, SCRAP seeks to complement them. SCRAP translates theoretical debates into a practical alternative to the current social and political structures, by proposing a strategic, holistic approach to global disarmament. It uses proven disarmament measures and achievements to significantly influence policy and build a disarmament agenda for the twenty-first century including the adoption of an international legally binding agreement for general and complete disarmament with a ten-year implementation period.
SCRAP seeks to re-energise the debate on global disarmament, which is now separated into nuclear disarmament on the one hand, and humanitarian disarmament efforts focused on the trade in weapons and on small arms on the other. There is no effort aimed at major conventional weapons as used by the West and other major powers. In addition, it is an answer to those that see US interest in nuclear disarmament as a means of preserving its conventional supremacy.
SCRAP posits human security and the interests of the individual above the interests of the state. It praises development and human rights, over state power privileged and substantiated in so called national security and interests. April 17 is marked as the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (or GDAMS in short). At SCRAP we say disarmament is possible and propose a route for general and complete disarmament in ten years.
On April 17, the SCRAP team at the SOAS Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy will host a Webinar to celebrate the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS). The event, titled ‘SCRAP-GDAMS: realising global disarmament’, will host speakers from key organisations including SIPRI and Reaching Critical Will, who will discuss the relationship between military spending, development, human rights, and climate change. The event, which will kick off at 4pm (UK Time) and will last for two hours, will be streamed online. Members of the public are invited to send their questions before and during the event through social media (Twitter @SCRAPweapons and Facebook) and by email to SCRAP’s email address: [email protected]. Please check SCRAP’s Facebook page regularly over the next few days for a link to the Webinar.