UNIDIR Expert Network on Security Priorities and Public Spending

UNIDIR Expert Network on security priorities and public spending brings together subject and country matter experts to explore opportunities to develop collaborative activities to:

  1. Advance knowledge and share best practices on the ways to increase budgetary transparency relating to security and strengthen effective parliamentary and civil society oversight of public resource allocation at the national level in relation to national security priorities, and
  2. To mainstream inclusive approaches to the development and implementation of national security strategies.

It serves as a safe platform to test and challenge research methodologies and findings from around the world, and to link them to practical solutions that could be implemented at the national level to strengthen national oversight capacities and promote better accountability.

The network is linked to UNIDIR’s ongoing research project on investigating the alignment between national security objectives and budgetary allocations, which is being implemented in cooperation with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals

The network aims to contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, including building peaceful societies, transparent accountable inclusive institutions at all levels (SDG 16), promoting the role of women and youth in peace and security (SDG 5) and developing meaningful partnerships (SGD 17). Inspired by Article 26 of the UN Charter, the network will become a unique platform for fostering links between disarmament and security.

(Detail of “2009_09_08 DSEi Arms Fair (26)” by CAAT, CC BY-SA 2.0 licence)

Research approach and envisaged activities for 2023/2024

The network activities will take a country-focused approach aimed at creating synergies and building meaningful collaboration among the invited subject-matter experts from international organizations to research communities, academia, and civil society. In 2023-24, the network will consist of several country/region-focused working groups.

Key responsibilities and strategic objective of the network include:

  1. Providing an opportunity to discuss the main challenges that governments and civil society groups face when it comes to formulating and articulating national security objectives and spending priorities in a particular country context.
  2. Sharing best practices on the ways to increase budgetary transparency for security and strengthen effective parliamentary and civil society oversight of public resources allocation in relation to security priorities at the national level.
  3. Strengthening links between research and policy making on security priorities and spending.

Other network activities envisaged for 2024 include a series of ad-hoc workshops providing a forum for sharing and discussing research findings, testing methodologies, and exploring opportunities for collaboration among the network members. The workshops will focus on several research areas to be discussed at the initial launch meeting, which could include:

  1. Government security priorities and prioritization of threats
  2. Transparency, accountability, oversight
  3. Military/Security spending and opportunity costs
  4. Economics of peace and security
  5. Gender equality and the role of women in peace and security

Expected outcomes

The planned activities are expected to lead to:

  1. Strengthening the capacity of parliaments and civil society to oversee public spending at the national level; and
  2. More informed and robust decision-making by governments.