For international peace and security, 2014 was not a good year. The year witnessed the highest number of refugees and displaced people since World War II. At the start of 2015, 59.5 million people were classified as forcibly displacedRefugees and forcibly displaced persons comprise: refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons and returnees.
more worldwide, either as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations. An estimated 13.9 million people were newly displaced by conflict in 2014, including 2.9 million new refugees. The continued fighting in the Syrian Arab Republic brought the number of displaced persons in that country to 7.6 million, the highest number anywhere in the world (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 2015).
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953)
The year 2014 also witnessed the highest number of
battle-related deathsThe World Bank defines battle-related deaths as deaths in battle-related conflicts between warring parties in the conflict dyad in 25 years. There were approximately 101,000 battle-related deaths that year compared with 72,000 the previous year and 80,000 in 1990. The increases compared with 2013 arose from notable rises in casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, South Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen. Global terrorism continued to rise in 2014. The Institute for Economics and Peace (2015) estimates that the total number of terrorism deaths in 2014 was approximately 32,700, an 80 per cent increase on the previous year and the highest level ever recorded. The number of people who have died from terrorist activities has increased ninefold since the year 2000. Not surprisingly, the economic cost of terrorism also reached its highest ever level in 2014, estimated at US$53 billion.
Peace is the only battle worth waging. Albert Camus (1945)
The Institute for Economics and Peace also estimates that the cost of containing terrorism (approximately US$117 billion) was more than double the direct cost of terrorism. Schippa (2016) estimates that the combined economic impact of this violence was US$13.6 trillion, the equivalent of US$5 per day for every person on the planet16.1 or more than 13 per cent of world gross domestic product.
The Global Peace IndexThe Global Peace Index covers 163 countries and is a composite index of 23 quantitative and qualitative indicators which can be classified into two broad categories.
more (Institute for Economics and Peace, 2016) provides a summary overview of the global state of peace (see figure 16.1). The index suggests that the world as a whole in 2015 was less peaceful compared with 2014, due largely to deteriorating scores in societal safety and security, ongoing conflicts and global terrorism. But across countries, patterns were quite varied. Peace inequality increased as 81 countries registered improvements in peacefulness, while in 79 countries peacefulness deteriorated. That deterioration was most evident in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. Europe remained the most peaceful region in the world, where Iceland and Denmark were identified as the most peaceful countries. Other countries have also been identified as having weak or unstable peace conditions, notably the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, the Russian Federation, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Ukraine.
Over the past decade more than 250 conflicts have affected all parts of the world, with about 55,000 people perishing annually as a direct consequence. The widespread availability of small arms and light weaponsThere is no universally accepted definition of a
small arm or
light weapon. However, the 1997 United Nations Panel of Governmental Experts categorized revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, assault rifles, sub-machine guns and light machine guns as small arms.
more and their ammunition is a key enabler of these conflicts. Arms and ammunition, often originating in small-scale consignments and from varied sources (including government depots), have a destabilizing impact, enabling terrorists, pirates or other armed groups to operate (United Nations Security Council, 2015). Small arms are thought to be used in 44 per cent of all violent deaths (Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, 2015).
Approximately US$4.7 billion in small arms and light weapons were exported legally in 201416.2. This compares with US$1.6 billion in 2000. The top 10 exporting countries in 2014 accounted for sales of US$3.6 billion or 76 per cent of all small arms and light weapons exports. Coincidently, the top 10 importing countries that year accounted for purchases of US$3.6 billion or 74 per cent of all small arms and light weapons legally imported (see table 16.1). The United Nations in 2006 estimated that about 25 per cent of the annual global trade in small arms is
illicit or not recorded as required by law (United Nations, 2006). If this estimation is valid, then the global value of exports might be closer to US$5.9 billion.
|United States||1 165||25||United States||2 213||46|
|Top 10||3 569||76||3 577||74|
|Total||4 725||100||4 857||100|
Research suggests that close to 80 countries currently produce small arms ammunition, but only 60 have the capacity to produce complete light weapon systems or components. More than half of these countries are capable of producing human-portable air-defence systems or anti-tank guided weapons. The granting of licences and production rights and the spread of technology have enabled many countries to produce small arms and light weapons without undertaking expensive or time-consuming research and development programmes. The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Small Arms Survey (2015) estimates that between 530,000 and 580,000 military small arms are produced annually either under licence or as unlicensed copies.
The Small Arms Survey Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer assesses the transparency of the main exportersMain exporters are defined as those States that are believed to have exported at least US$10 million worth of small arms and light weapons, including their parts, accessories, and ammunition, for at least one calendar year since 2001.
more (see figure 16.2). The assessment is based on information gathered from national and regional arms export reports, the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and the United Nations Comtrade. The scoring is based on the quality of the data regarding timeliness, access and consistency, clarity, comprehensiveness, deliveries, and licences granted and refused. The barometer identifies a wide range of country practices. The United States of America, the biggest exporter in the world, has an aggregate score of only 11.25 (out of a possible maximum of 25). Italy, the second largest exporter, is more transparent with an aggregate score of 15. Germany, the third largest exporter of small arms, has a transparency rating of 19.75. Other major exporters such as Brazil, the Republic of Korea and Turkey only have scores of 7.0, 9.75 and 9.75, respectively. Quite a few other countries have low transparency regarding their weapons exports: Argentina (8); China (7); the Russian Federation (9.75) and Ukraine (6.75). Other countries have no transparency at all - Iran (0) and Saudi Arabia (0), for example.