On 22 and 23 March 2023, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) partnered with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) to organize virtual training workshops for Permanent Missions and national focal points on preparing submissions to the UN Report on Military Expenditures (UNMilEx).
The UNMilEx instrument was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. 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.
Whereas almost two-thirds of UN Member States have reported to UNMilEx at least once since its establishment, participation rates have steadily declined in recent years. This limits the effectiveness of the instrument as a confidence and security-building measure.
Against this backdrop, the training workshops served to revitalize 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 online UNMilEx reporting tool.
In total, 70 participants attended the workshops, representing 42 Member States. Of these, four Member States have never submitted information to the UNMilEx instrument, while 15 Member States did not do so during the past two reporting cycles.
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.