The concept of disarmament is central to the work of the United Nations, and to the League of Nations before that. It stems from the concern that the level of arms build up globally and the level of expenditure on weapons globally makes human beings, and our planet, less safe. Disarmament and arms control by states is about accounting for, controlling and eliminating weapons, as they work together in community to make the world a safer place.
A comprehensive explanation of disarmament has been published by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs - Disarmament: A Basic Guide
Warfare, militarisation and the build up of arms; conventional and nuclear, have wide reaching effects. In 2022, we are experiencing one of history’s largest arms build ups globally since the Cold War. The effects of this matter for our planet, for humanity, and for our children’s future. Not only do weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear weapons threaten life on earth, but the amount of resources spent in this industry significantly impact on our ability to be able to address the crucial issues facing our planet, such as tackling climate change and being able to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
"The world is over-armed and peace is underfunded." Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary-General (2007-2016)
"In 2016, the world’s Governments spent US$ 1.69 trillion on military expenditures, amounting to US$ 227 for each person alive today."
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
To find out more about what the United Nations is doing to address disarmament, please see the UN Secretary General’s Disarmament Agenda - Securing our Common Future