Military Spending in a time of Austerity

The Leeds International Olof Palme Memorial Peace Lecture, jointly organised by our University and Leeds City Council’s Peace Links Group, is to be presented on Tuesday 7 May at Leeds Civic Hall by the Secretary General of the International Peace Bureau (IPB), Colin Archer at 7.30pm.
Colin will deliver a lecture entitled ‘Spending on Development and the Military in a Time of Austerity’.

Global military spending is arguably the ‘elephant in the room’ when we discuss austerity, development budgets and basic livelihoods.

The annual figures produced by SIPRI show the vast amounts of money being spent by governments.

The Global Day of Action on Military Spending was initiated by International Peace Bureau and has gathered useful information and fact sheets.

Military Spending should be a key issue for those studying peace, security and development because we discuss the need for increased resources and consider how governments allocate the spending…and we need clear information about what percentage is spent on weapons and the military.

About the Peace Lecture.
Working together with local peace and human rights groups, the Leeds International Olof Palme Memorial Peace Lecture was first established in 1987 in memory of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, a peace campaigner and outspoken opponent of apartheid in South Africa who briefly studied in Leeds in the 1950s.

Colin’s work as a peace and human rights activist began in the early 1970s, with him being especially active on nuclear issues in the UK during the late 1980s. He co-founded the Institute for Law, Peace and Accountability and has been Secretary-General of the International Peace Bureau since 1990. Colin has been heavily involved in the World Court Project and Abolition 2000 (coalitions against nuclear weapons), the Hague Appeal for Peace (World Congress 1999), and the Global Campaign for Peace Education.

The International Peace Bureau is based in Geneva and is dedicated to the vision of a world without war. It has 300 member organisations in 70 countries together with individual members that from a global network. Its work was recognised in 1910 when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and since then, 13 of its officers have been made Nobel Peace Laureates.

The lecture will be held at 7.30pm at Leeds Civic Hall. For more information and to reserve a place, contact or 0113 2474339.


One thought on “Military Spending in a time of Austerity

  1. Last night’s Olaf Palme peace talk gave plenty of food for thought about the relative and real costs of military spending in times of austerity . Colin Archer, Secretary General of the International Peace Bureau (IPB), gave an insightful critique of current changes in global military spending, arguing that while cuts might be being made in some defence budgets these are on a relatively small scale and are potentially reversible. He argued that savings from such cuts tend not to go towards funding social spending, nor are they made in the right places (notably not in the UK’s Trident budget). This, he argued, pointed to a lack of attitudinal change amongst policy makers at a time when key players on the international stage are rapidly increasing their military spending, combining to produce pessimistic forecasts for future peace.
    Perhaps of particular relevance for PAGE students were the links Colin made between peace, security, the environment, development and international relations, under the banner of ‘Sustainable Disarmament for Sustainable Development’ . This approach is embodied in the IPB’s campaign ‘Opportunity Costs’, which seeks to influence the post-2015 UN Development Agenda by highlighting the importance of including security and peace related issues into the new UN framework which will replace the Millennium Development Goals. The success of such campaigns is reliant on widespread participation and activism. Colin’s analysis of the important history of the modern Peace Movement outlined 200 years of peace activism, from the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars to the present day. As we contemplate next year’s centenary of the beginning of the ‘Great’ War, debates around the ‘Opportunity Costs’ of military spending should be central for those interested in mobilising around issues of Peace, Development and Social Justice. More information available here:

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