Government officials from nearly 40 countries join workshop about reporting on military expenditures

April 18th, 2024

On 11 April 2024, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) partnered with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) to organize virtual training workshops for Diplomatic Missions in New York and Geneva as well as national focal points on preparing submissions to the UN Report on Military Expenditures (UNMilEx).

The UNMilEx instrument was established  by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 35/142 B, adopted in 1980. It was born out of a more ideological endeavor aimed at reducing excessive military spending. However, when it became clear that these discussions would not bear fruits, the focus shifted to promoting transparency instead. Through the UNMilEx instrument, Member States are requested, on an annual basis, to report on their military expenditures during the previous calendar year. The deadline to do so is 30 April of each year.

Since its introduction, more than 120 Member States have submitted a report to UNMilEx at least once. Even though the recent increase in the number of submissions to UNMilEx is encouraging (from 42 reports submitted in 2022 to 63 submissions in 2023), this transparency instrument remains underutilized. Only a minority of States report in any given year and only a few States consistently report every year, limiting the effectiveness of the instrument as a confidence-building measure.

In this context, the training workshops served to revitalize and keep momentum around transparency in military expenditures and build countries’ reporting capacity. Participants heard about the importance of transparency in military matters, the origin and function of the UNMilEx instrument and the key components of its reporting forms. They were also shown how to prepare submissions through practical demonstrations based on publicly available budgets and a walk-through of the new online UNMilEx reporting tool.

In total, more than 60 participants registered and attended the workshop, representing nearly 40 Member States and one regional organization.

The Office for Disarmament Affairs will continue to organize these informative and hands-on training workshops, thereby raising awareness of the UNMilEx instrument and supporting States in building their reporting capacity on military expenditures.

The recording of the virtual training workshop is available here.