Peace Boat joined more than 100 organisations from 35 countries around the world to take action as part of the Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS) in April 2019. This international campaign was founded in December 2014 and promoted by the International Peace Bureau after the five Global Days of Action (GDAMS), which has been an annual occurrence since 2011. During GCOMS 2019, the Global Day(s) of Action on Military Spending include the period from April 13 to May 9, 2019, under the slogan "Demilitarize: Invest in People’s Needs!"
The Global Campaign on Military Spending raises awareness of the huge and excessive amounts of public money spent on the military system all over the world. We would like to build a community that can have some impact on the budget decisions made, especially at national level, so that resources can be reallocated to human and environmental needs. Current spending for military budgets amount to over 1600 billion USD each year according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). According to SIPRI, a reduction of 10% of military spending would be enough to achieve major progress on key Sustainable Development Goals.
To kick off this campaign, a series of events were held onboard the Peace & Green Boat, a regional voyage throughout East Asia bringing together 500 Japanese and 500 Korean participants for a journey for mutual understanding, reconciliation, and regional collaboration for peace and sustainability. As the ship was docked in Nagasaki on April 14, Peace Boat's Kawasaki Akira, also a member of the International Steering Group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), gave a lecture on nuclear disarmament and GCOMS. Following this, hundreds of participants from both Korea and Japan gathered together on the ship's deck to display their commitment to reducing military spending and instead investing in people's needs.
Read more about actions to be held all around the world during April and May on the GCOMS website here, as well as resources and ideas for taking your own actions.