Ban calls for intensified efforts to remove threat of weapons of mass destruction

The Security Council voting to adopt resolution 1540 (2004), on 28 April 2004. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

28 April 2014 – Ten years after the United Nations Security Council took “bold action” to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for intensified efforts to remove the threat posed by these weapons and to prevent terrorists from acquiring them.

Resolution 1540, adopted unanimously by the 15-member body on 28 April 2004, requires governments to prevent non-State actors or terrorists from acquiring, proliferating and using nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery.

The resolution also requires all States to establish various types of domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of such weapons and their related materials. A Security Council committee was also established to report to the Council on the implementation of the resolution.

“Ten years ago today, the Security Council took bold action to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by unanimously adopting resolution 1540,” Mr. Ban said in a message to mark the occasion. “In the decade since its adoption, resolution 1540 has become an important component of the global security architecture.”

Over the past decade, Member States have enacted a large number of relevant laws and deployed a wide range of appropriate measures to implement key requirements of the resolution. To date, nearly 90 per cent of Member States have submitted national reports on measures taken or planned to be taken to implement the requirements of the resolution.

In addition, the so-called ‘1540 Committee’ has recorded over 30,000 reported measures that had been taken by States in implementing the resolution’s key requirements.

“I urge all States and stakeholders to reaffirm their common commitment to achieve the great goals of this resolution and to devote their utmost efforts to save present and future generations from the double threat posed by terrorism and weapons of mass destruction,” said Mr. Ban.

In a separate video message, the UN chief noted that weapons of mass destruction have no constructive role in the modern world, adding: “there are no right hands for these wrong weapons.”

He said the use of poison gas in Syria was an “alarming” reminder of the continuing threat of weapons of mass destruction. “This is despite global efforts to prohibit their use, prevent their proliferation and eliminate them all. It is particularly important to prevent terrorists acquiring nuclear, chemical or biological weapons,” he stressed.

“Today, I appeal to all States and other key actors to intensify efforts to stop the proliferation of these devastating weapons. The safety and security of everyone is at stake.”


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