Rio+20: Mayors for Peace calls for redirecting military expenditures to fund sustainable development
Two weeks before the start of the Rio+20 Summit Mr. Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima and President of Mayors for Peace has added his signature to the [Rio+20 Appeal](http://www.inesglobal.com/Disarmament-for-Sustainable-Development.phtml) calling on governments to cut military spending in favor of sustainable development.
Mayors for Peace counts 5,276 member cities in 153 countries and regions, and is the world`s largest network of local governments protecting cities from the scourge of war and mass destruction.
Following a consultation with the [Executive Members](http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/membercity/executive.html), the President of Mayors for Peace joins a group of prominent individuals, including eight Nobel Peace Prize Laureates (1), demanding governments of the world to seriously address the neglected issue of peace and disarmament, and agree on a global plan for disarmament for sustainable development at the Rio Summit. The Rio+20 Appeal is an initiative from INES, the International Peace Bureau, Foreign Policy in Focus and the World Future Council.
In partnership with Viva Rio, the largest ngo in Brazil, a life-size [Tank made of Bread](http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/5430.html) will be used as the eye catcher during Rio+20 to remind the world that the fight against extreme poverty, hunger and malnourishment can be realistically funded by redirecting money spent on the military. Last year the world spent US$1,7 trillion on the military while according to the World Bank only 5% of this amount is needed to reach the MDGs (2). As declared by UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon: “The world is overarmed and peace underfunded“.
The signatories of the Rio+20 Appeal demand that the freed-up funds should be used for social, economic and ecological programs in all countries. Starting in 2013, military spending should be cut back substantially, that is, by a minimum of 10 percent per annum.
Jean Paul Nanfack, Vice Mayor of Fongo Tongo (Cameroon) and spokesperson for Mayors for Peace Africa declared: “It is historic and timely that Mayors for Peace adds its voice in the debate of sustainable development. As African Mayors we know very well that disarmament is a condition towards sustainable development. It is a crime that on average every 3,5 seconds a person dies of hunger while billions are wasted on the military. Our leaders at the Rio+20 Summit need to address this issue “.
Already on March 21st the Executive Bureau of FLACMA (Federation of Latin American Cities, Municipalities and Associations of local governments) meeting in Santiago de Chile approved a motion (3) demanding “our governments to recognize at the RIO+20 Conference that disarmament is a condition towards development; and to coordinate a global plan for disarmament with the goal of achieving the commitments of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and the necessary funding to satisfy the urgent needs of the local governments and its citizens“. FLACMA is the the regional organization of Cities and United Local Government (UCLG).
At its June 2011 annual meeting, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted two resolutions to “move the money.” One “calls on the President and U.S. Congress to end the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] as soon as strategically possible and bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy and reduce the federal debt.” The other ” calls on the U.S. Congress to terminate funding for modernization of the nuclear weapons complex and nuclear weapons systems, to slash spending on nuclear weapons programs well below Cold War levels, and to redirect those funds to meet the urgent needs of cities.” While the continuing economic crisis is forcing mayors and cities to make ever deeper cuts in critical public services, in 2011 alone, the United States spent $711 billion on its military, 41% of the world total and twice as much as the next 14 countries combined, including China, Russia, six NATO allies and three major non-NATO allies. The USCM is the national association of cities with populations over 30,000.
Also individuals can sign their support for the Rio+20 Appeal through Avaaz.
[Click here to sign now](http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/SD_for_SD/?cBoscdb). We would like to encourage you to network the Rio+20 Appeal, including posting the Avaaz alert on your Facebook.
(1) The Rio+20 Appeal attracts endorsements from numerous personalities (see list), including Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Shirin Ebadi (2003 – Iran); Archbishop Desmund Tutu (1984 – South Africa); Adolfo Peres Esquivel (1980 – Argentina); Dr. Oscar Arias (1987 – Costa Rica); Jose Ramos Horta (1996 – Timor Leste); Prof. Dr. John Hume (1998 – Northern Ireland); Dr. Mairead Corrigan Maguire (1976 – Northern Ireland); Rigoberta Menchu Tum (1992 – Guatemala) and Jody Williams (1997 – USA).
(2) MDG World Bank reference made in [statement by Angela Kane](http://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&view=bsp&ver=ohhl4rw8mbn4) United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs on April 17th 2012, [United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs](http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/dc3344.doc.htm).
(3) [FLACMA demands Rio+20 global plan for disarmament to achieve MDGs](http://www.2020visioncampaign.org/en/home/artikel/40fb96b40a/flacma-demands-global-plan-for-disar.html)
Director Internacional de Desarrollo y
Asesor Ejecutivo Hiroshima Fundación para Cultura de Paz
Alcaldes por la Paz Campaña Visión 2020