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Disarmament: A Basic Guide

Third Edition

image of Disarmament: A Basic Guide

International peace and security - and therefore disarmament - stand at the core of the UN mandate. This publication is designed to inform, educate and generate public understanding of the importance of multilateral action, and to rally support for it, in the field of arms limitation and disarmament. Intended primarily for the general reader, this basic guide may also be useful for the disarmament educator or trainer. It is published by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in collaboration with the NGO (non-governmental organizations) Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security pursuant to the purposes of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme.

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Global military expenditures

Global military expenditure, after many years of growth in the Cold War period, decreased from US$ 1.2 trillion in 1985 to $809 billion in 1998, reflecting cuts in every region except Asia, where spending was up by more than a quarter during the 1990s. During this time, the number of military personnel, weapons production and stockpiles of weapons were all reduced. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the United States, which accounts for the single largest piece of the global spending pie, dropped its military spending by one third during the decade 1989-1999. The Russian Federation also reduced arms expenditures in that period: in 1998 it spent one fifth of what the former Soviet Union had spent 10 years earlier.

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