UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week warned member states and UN staff that the United Nations is $140 million short of its budget and could run out of cash, due to late and non-payment of UN dues by member states.
In a letter sent to UN members, Guterres said that the UN had "never faced such a difficult cash flow situation this early in the calendar year. An organization such as ours should not have to suffer repeated brushes with bankruptcy. But surely, the greater pain is felt by those we serve when we cannot, for want of modest funds, answer their call for help."
Move the Nuclear Weapons Money has called for re-allocation of a portion of nuclear weapons budgets to assist the UN cash crisis. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the cost to extend the lifetime of each US Trident nuclear missile is $140 million, the same amount as the UN shortfall.
Trident II nuclear missile
"if the US retires just one Trident nuclear missile from their arsenal, the money saved could be used to meet the UN deficit," says Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) and Co-founder of Move the Nuclear Weapons Money.
"Better yet, if all the nuclear armed States abandoned their plans to upgrade their nuclear arsenal, nearly $100 billion could be saved. This could then re-directed into the economy for job creation, climate protection, education, health, peace, diplomacy and sustainable security."
PNND Co-President Senator Ed Markey has introduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act into the U.S. Senate to cut redundant and destabilizing nuclear programs and curtail nuclear modernization. "It is time we inserted some desperately needed sanity into America's budget priorities," says Senator Markey.
Senator Markey introducing the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditure (SANE) Act
"Unfortunately, Senator Markey is unable to move a majority of the US Senate to support his act due to the lobbying power of the companies which are manufacturing the nuclear weapons systems" says Mr. Ware. "We can reduce this pro-nuclear lobbying power, and encourage the companies to get out of the nuclear weapons business, by nuclear weapons divestment."
The Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign shows how you can be involved, by moving your government, city, religious institution, university, bank and/or pension fund to divest (See Take Action). The campaign also lists examples of divestment policies adopted at these different levels.
"Next week parliamentarians, faith communities and peace organizations will commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," says Vanda Proskova, PNND Research Officer, "Amongst the many actions around the world will be calls for further divestment from nuclear weapons corporations."
In order to highlight the issue, the World Future Council along with PNND and other partners, will hold Count the Nuclear Weapons Money, an action during UN Disarmament Week (October 24-30) to "count out" the $1 trillion budgeted for nuclear weapons for the next ten years, and reallocate this money to better areas.
One million mock notes, each of $1 million value, will be counted by people of all ages, nations, backgrounds; celebrities, activists, politicians, UN officials, diplomats, artists, religious leaders, sportspeople, refugees and others. The counting will take place in front of the United Nations and at other relevant locations in New York.
"Counting the money note-by-note, no-stop over seven days and nights, will demonstrate what an exorbitant amount of money is being wasted on nuclear weapons - money which is sorely needed to end poverty, protect the climate, provide adequate health care and basic education, fund the United Nations and achieve the sustainable development goals," says Holger Güssenfeld, Creative Director of Count the Nuclear Weapons Money.