Ban issued a statement to the U.N. Conference on Disarmament under way in Geneva. While the annual conference has led to regimes like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaties, Ban said support for disarmament was lagging.
"The world today remains over-armed," he said. "Peace is under-funded."
The U.S. Congressional Research Service reported last year that, in 2011, U.S. weapons sales accounted for about 75 percent of the world arms market with $66.3 billion. Russia came in second with $4.8 billion in sales for 2011.
International concerns have grown that Syria's chemical weapons arsenal is at risk because of civil war. Nuclear inspectors, meanwhile, have been unable to ensure Iran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes at the same time that questions remain over the North Korean nuclear arsenal.
Ban expressed concern that differences among parties to the disarmament conference were inhibiting broader reforms.