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A Practical Guide to State Participation in the UN Report on Military Expenditures

The United Nations Report on Military Expenditures (UNMILEX) is a reporting instrument established by the UN General Assembly. Each year all UN member states can voluntarily provide data on their military expenditures to enhance multilateral transparency in military matters. In recent years fewer than 50 states on average per year have participated in the instrument. However, most states release public information on their military spending at the national level, which could directly support submissions for UNMILEX.

To assist the revival of the instrument and to contribute to transparency in military affairs, this guide aims to support officials in preparing their country’s annual submission for UNMILEX. It provides step-by-step advice and concrete examples on how to use the information readily available in public government budget documents to fill in UNMILEX submissions. It discusses the definition of ‘military expenditure’ for UNMILEX purposes, shows where to find budget documents and explains whether to report on actual or planned expenditures. Most importantly, the guide gives instructions on how to transcribe data from national budget documents to the correct UNMILEX form. The focus is on making participation easy by using the simplified or single-figure form.


This guide can be used in combination with a separate compendium of example submissions and an archive of public national documents on military expenditure (SIPRI’s National Budget Archive), which are available on SIPRIs website. Users can download the compendium using the button on this page and access the archive at <>. The examples in the compendium demonstrate how a country can use its national data to prepare a UNMILEX submission. The archive of public national documents has been created to further promote and assist the efforts of member states and the UN to increase international transparency in military expenditures.



Pieter D. Wezeman is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Dr Lucie Béraud-Sudreau is Director of the Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.
Alexandra Marksteiner was a Researcher in the SIPRI Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.
Dr Nan Tian is a Senior Researcher and Acting Programme Director with the Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme at SIPRI.