Burden-sharing for global cooperation on safety and security

Marion Bogers, Robert Beeres, Myriame Bollen


Across the world, the perceived common ground regarding global safety and security is changing. Facing divergent threats, in addition to their cooperation on defense states will increasingly need to collaborate on additional dimensions to protect their citizens. Hence, next to the military burden-sharing debate, questions as to whether states are contributing their fair shares in other arenas as well will be subject to debate also. This article analyzes national contributions by 28 NATO states to five dimensions connected to today’s safety and security situation, namely military expenditures, foreign aid, combating terror financing, carbon dioxide reductions, and refugee protection. We find that states vary in their contributions to safety and security, each preferring to fund some dimensions more than others. We suggest that acknowledging and allowing for a certain degree of complementarity among states could help transform the debate on burden-sharing, which is cost-focused, to include benefit-sharing behavior. Thus, it may become possible to value every country’s contributions and, building on national strengths, to further cooperation for safety and security along all necessary dimensions.


Burden-sharing; NATO; public goods; military contributions; foreign aid; combating terror finance; carbon dioxide reductions; refugee protection

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15355/epsj.14.1.27


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