Demilitarization and Development

The following is a copy of the Non-Governmental Organizations' Treaty on Militarism, the Environment, and Development finalized and signed in Rio de Janeiro last June. Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, who was representing several organizations, including Science for Peace, at the Global Forum at Rio, participated in the preparation and translation of the treat,'. "All treaties were conceived in such as way as to be concrete tools for both sensitizing and mobilizing peoples of the world", says Vaillancourt. The treaty on militarism was one of 33 signed by the NGOs at the Global Forum


In recognition of the link between militarism, debt, environmental degradation and maldevelopment, and in view of the fact that the UNCED process has thus far excluded these connections, we demand that the impact of militarism on the earth, its people and on the global economy be put on the post-Rio Agenda.


  1. Military activity destroys life, wreaks havoc on the environment and depletes resources. A complete, general and environmentally sound demilitarization, free from nuclear weapons and nuclear waste, and free from regional conflicts and military dictatorships, is imperative.
  2. As long as 20% of the world's population devours 80% of the world's resources and energy, military force will be used to maintain this iii equitable situation. Poverty and hunger generate tensions and pressures which can only be contained by armed force. Militarization originating in economic exploitation and in all forms of domination, including patriarchal systems, destroys the Earth and the various forms of life on it. Militarism, during periods of war and peace has an immensely negative impact on the environment, as it uses up the natural and human resources needed for economic and social development.
  3. There is an urgent need for demilitarization, for the abolition of war and for a lasting world peace. For the sake of present and future generations, suitable social and economic security is essential.
  4. Security must no longer be defined in exclusively military terms but in a comprehensive way, encompassing personal security, free from violence and sexual abuse; local security where all basic needs are met; and common, global security where the rights of people and other species to live in a healthy environment are respected.
  5. This type of security cannot be achieved unless justice prevails, and unless economic, political, legal and social systems are radically transformed. Huge military expenditures that burden nations with external debt, siphon off precious resources and impede the fulfilment of societal needs must be stopped immediately.
  6. A new world order demands that no country police the world, intervene militarily and extend its vital space to foreign bases and outer space. Military forces and bases must be eliminated from the territory of other countries, since they violate the principle of the right to self-determination of peoples.
  7. The threat or use of force, as well as all forms of violence, are unacceptable, including rape and torture, summary executions and disappearances, and loss of life through warfare and intelligence work. Conflicts must be resolved by nonviolent means, negotiation, mediation, and sanctions decided upon multilaterally must replace military action. Any type of unilateral sanctions must be repudiated.
  8. Environmental destruction and the depletion of resources both lead to and result from armed conflict. Furthermore, these and the use of space for military purposes endanger the biosphere.


  1. We demand that out governments negotiate and ratify a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Principle 26 of the 1972 Stockholm Declaration calling for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction should be reaffirmed and extended to include all weapons.
  2. We will work against imbalances of class, culture, color, and gender in power relationships. We seek to promote balanced participation on decision-making bodies at all levels. We will work for an end to the exploitation of women, children, and other peoples marginalized by dominant military systems.
  3. We will support all those facing military or police repression because of their opposition to war, their promotion of human rights, or their opposition to projects with negative environmental or developmental consequences.
  4. We hold governments and the military-industrial-academic complex accountable for any direct or indirect damage they cause to the environment. We insist on the registration and reciprocal inspections of all weapons of mass destruction, which must he dismantled without replacement. We will organize boycotts of those companies which produce environmentally damaging products for military purposes.
  5. We will campaign for the simultaneous reduction of military spending in all countries as quickly as possible, and for the transfer of these resources to meet human and environmental needs. Going beyond monitoring and control, we will work to abolish the international weapons trade, which is morally as unacceptable as the slave trade and drug trade.
  6. We will educate ourselves and others ill conflict resolution and we will promote peaceful solutions to all disputes.
  7. We will strengthen relationships between NGOs world wide. Our goal is to facilitate the sharing of information and the sharing of solidarity about the environmental impacts of militarism and the interconnection between development, environment, debt, domination, and militarization.
  8. We will declare our territories and localities free of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as well as weapon systems and nuclear power, and we will work to eliminate their development, production, transportation, and storage
  9. We will join indigenous peoples ill opposing the use of their lands or territories, and of their airspace, for military purposes, including uranium milling, the testing of weapons, or the dumping, storage and incineration of hazardous and radioactive wastes.
  10. We will campaign against the conditioning of society, particularly children, through the media and through war games and war toys. We will promote education for peace.
  11. Because of the chemical toxicity and radioactivity of depleted uranium (U238), we will work for the immediate prohibition of its use and the use of similar materials in the manufacturing of military and civilian equipment.
  12. We condemn the use of any pretext, including narco-traffic, as a justification to invade, to militarize or to destroy regions.
  13. We oppose the use of land, sea, air and outer space in nuclear experiments and nuclear waste disposal, or other military actions which harm the environment.
  14. We insist that all military related activity be subject to all the judicial legislative and regulatory processes of civil society.
  15. We will support the development of a permanent Environmental Crisis Response Centre such as the proposed Green Cross, to coordinate international responses to ecological disasters, including war.

Jean-Guy Vaillancourt is a professor of sociology at he University of Montreal.

Peace Magazine Mar-Apr 1993

Peace Magazine Mar-Apr 1993, page 18. Some rights reserved.

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