UN-sponsored meetings on thwarting terrorism wrap up

12 July 2007 –

Two days of United Nations-backed discussions to discuss putting into practice a Security Council resolution to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) by non-State actors for terrorist purposes have concluded.

Yesterday at UN Headquarters in New York, Ambassador Peter Burian of Slovakia, who chairs the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 of April 2004, convened the first-ever meeting of Member States and international organizations on efforts made to further the implementation of the resolution.

“The international community must accord high priority to this area,” Mr. Burian told reporters today.

Over two dozen Member States, the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the European Union attended the meeting.

The participants considered a range of topics, including how to better “shape the assistance programs and how to help countries which are facing some objective difficulties or which are lacking capacities to deal with the threats on a national basis to over come those problems through an increase in international assistance,” Mr. Burian noted.

Also for the first time, Mr. Burian and the Committee today met with a half dozen non-governmental organizations (NGOs) regarding their approaches and programmes to promote the resolution’s implementation.

“We had an opportunity to hear from the NGOs how much has been done in this area by the NGO community in terms of providing concrete legislative advice, by dealing with concrete challenges of implementation of resolution 1540 on the ground,” the Chairman said.

“We agreed that the NGO community is an important partner for the 1540 Committee and the process of implementation of 1540,” he added.

One of the meeting’s participants expressed her gratitude that the Committee has recognized the unique contributions made by NGOs.

“The NGOs have a flexibility, a responsiveness, and in some cases, actual technical assistance capacity that they can bring to the table in facilitating the Committee’s efforts and/or filling in gaps in terms of what’s resident within the Committee or what’s missing from the Committee,” said Elizabeth Turpen, Senior Associate with the Henry L. Stimson Center based in Washington.

Underscoring the value of the resolution in countering the convergence of threats posed by non-State actors, she said that today’s meeting was an “incredible opportunity” that allowed NGOs to update each other on their respective projects as well as highlight “the set of skills they bring to the table that might facilitate implementation of the resolution in one form or another.”

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