The independent resource on global security

7. Financing security in a global context


I. Introduction

II. Threats, risks and challenges

III. Resource allocation

IV. Conclusions


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In the current security environment, the focus has shifted from the superpower confrontation of the cold war in the North to insecurity in the developing countries in the South; from state territorial security to broader and deeper security dimensions; and towards greater global security interdependence. All this feeds a perception of the ineffectiveness and growing irrelevance of military means for addressing security threats and challenges.


There is also a growing recognition of the need for global action to address these threats and challenges. In particular, the North has become more receptive to the argument that it has a shared interest in addressing the security problems and sources of insecurity in the South. Intra-state armed conflicts in the South are increasingly perceived as having international consequences, for example, through drug trafficking and refugee flows. Economic and environmental security and organized crime have a strong transnational dimension. The threat of transnational terrorism has also contributed to increased awareness of global interlinkages in security.


However, the pattern of security financing still appears to be strongly focused on traditional national military security objectives. For example, although statistics do not allow a strict comparison, it appears that resources allocated to peace missions are small compared with military expenditure on territorial defence. Government accounts are not structured to show the total amount of government expenditure on non-military security provision. It is therefore impossible to monitor the extent to which countries are adapting to the requirement to shift the balance between military and non-military means of addressing security problems.


International financing of peace and security on a fundamentally different scale to today would require new thinking on and priorities for resource allocation. A North–South shift of resources for these purposes would have to be based on the enlightened self-interest of the North. However, that would require substantially improved knowledge about how to promote security and prevent armed conflict. Even more, it would require wide dissemination of such knowledge to the broader population in the North, in order to make these countries prepared to invest in the future security of countries far away.


Available statistics are not adapted to the purpose of examining priorities in resource allocation for security purposes outside the military domain or through multilateral organizations. It would be useful to begin thinking about designing new types of public expenditure categories that would reflect non-military and international expenditure on peace and security.