Risks to Non-proliferation Regime Challenge Resolution 1540 to Ensure States Enact Domestic Controls over Weapons of Mass Destruction Spread to Non-State Actors
Risks to Non-proliferation Regime Challenge Resolution 1540 to Ensure States Enact Domestic Controls over Weapons of Mass Destruction Spread to Non-State Actors
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Security Council Committee
established pursuant to resolution 1540
27th & 28th Meetings (AM & PM)
Risks to Non-proliferation Regime Challenge Resolution 1540 to Ensure States Enact
Domestic Controls over Weapons of Mass Destruction Spread to Non-State Actors
Atomic Energy Agency Warns Meeting That Risk of Nuclear Material Use in Malicious
Acts ‘High’; World Health Organization Prepares for ‘Potentially Deliberate Event’
Citing ever greater risks to the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which were challenging Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) to effectively bind every State to develop and enforce domestic controls to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of non-State actors, organizations concerned with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missile technology grappled with the resolution’s far-reaching legislative and technical obligations today, as a comprehensive review of implementation continued at Headquarters.
That review meeting, which ends on Friday, 2 October, is intended to assess the evolution of risks and threats, address specific critical issues, and identify possible new approaches for implementing resolution 1540, which seeks to prevent the acquisition by non-State actors of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) third Nuclear Security Plan, approved in September, acknowledged that the risk that nuclear and other radioactive materials could be used in malicious acts remained high and was a serious threat, its representative said. It also confirmed that the responsibility for nuclear security rested entirely on each State, and that effective national systems for nuclear security were vital in facilitating the peaceful use of nuclear energy and enhancing global efforts to combat nuclear terrorism.
He said that IAEA cooperated actively with States and provided assistance, upon request, aimed at raising standards of nuclear security, in order to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism, by securing vulnerable nuclear materials, improving protection of nuclear facilities and transports, strengthening border controls and combating illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive sources. In the area of nuclear security, States should be empowered to establish effective nuclear security, and IAEA’s essential role in assisting them should be supported. The 1540 Committee should advise States to seek IAEA’s support in those matters.
The representative of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) told participants that since the adoption of resolution 1540 five years ago, the risks and threats to the nuclear non-proliferation regime had significantly increased. Responding to those challenges required a fresh look at how States, relevant international and regional organizations, and civil society should cooperate in order to address them effectively. At a time when many challenges threatened the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, the Test-Ban Treaty was a uniting force in the multilateral system.
The representative of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) warned that the ease of access to dual-use chemicals made it necessary for effective controls to be established over the production, processing, consumption and trade of chemicals, particularly those that were toxic or had dual uses. OPCW, while not an anti-terrorism body, was a natural partner in efforts to prevent terrorism with deadly weapons.
The 1540 Committee’s own records indicated that efforts to implement 1540 showed higher levels of success in the chemical areas, he said. The Organisation’s Secretariat remained ready to assist the 1540 Committee. It offered training programmes to first responders to incidents where chemical weapons were used. In cases of the use of chemical weapons, the Organisation was mandated to investigate. Should those cases occur in or be perpetrated by States not party to the Convention, it was mandated to work closely with the United Nations Secretary-General, and, if requested, to put its resources at his disposal.
While non-State actors did not operate within the parameters set out in international texts, said INTERPOL’s representative, it was those very texts that provided the cooperative framework to detect, prevent and prosecute those activities. In that context, international police action was particularly relevant. Communications and information sharing were the lifeblood of police work. INTERPOL had developed a tool called “I-24/7”, which allowed all 187 member countries to share sensitive policing information, to request and offer assistance in international investigations and to access INTERPOL’s databases. Among other activities that supported 1540’s implementation, INTERPOL maintained a stolen and lost travel documents database, which contained 18 million entries and through which more than 500 criminals and terrorists were identified each month.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had created a team to address overlaps between security and public health, which was tasked with establishing procedures to guide a public health response to a “potentially deliberate event” and addressing security concerns at high visibility and high-consequence mass gatherings. It had a “24/7” system of alert and the ability to mobilize international public health networks to assist countries to respond, including the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, ChemiNet (for alert and response to chemical events), the International Food Safety Authorities Network, and the Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network. The WHO was also strengthening its stockpiles for disease-specific risks, like smallpox, as well as exploring the possibility of a new global stockpile for radio-nuclear and chemical emergencies.
Regional organizations and groups of countries contributed to the exchange, including the representative of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), who said that the international community must collectively develop a comprehensive and collaborative strategy to counter terrorists’ plans to acquire chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials. Despite the progress that had been made, serious threats to international security still remained, with occurrences of non-adherence to international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation commitments, as well as the development of biological science and technology to increase the bioterrorism threat. To develop successful responses, an expanded and global scope of activities was required.
Saying the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had been actively engaged since 2006 in the implementation of 1540, its representative proffered that it was considering a proposal in a strategy paper outlining a comprehensive regional approach to increase complementarity and deal with non-proliferation, anti-terrorism and border management. In addition, it intended to set up an informal “Group of Friends of 1540” under the appropriate OSCE decision-making body. In recognition of the strong need for individual assistance for some States, there was another proposal afloat to launch a special extra-budgetary project within the Conflict Prevention Centre of the OSCE Secretariat.
In one of two thematic discussions following the meeting’s general debate, participants focused on assessment of the impact of resolution 1540. Berhanykun Andemicael, Coordinator and expert of the 1540 Committee, highlighted the difficulty in assessing the impact of the resolution because there was no single measure that the Committee could use.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that the 1540 Committee seemed to lack criteria for evaluation. He disagreed with its conclusion that a successful implementation was too complicated to assess. It was to be expected that different legal systems would have different modes of law enforcement and that resources needed to carry out the task would vary by country. Instead of making needless comparisons, Member States should focus on cooperation.
He said that resolution 1540 reflected a balance of interest among all States. It presupposed cooperation between States and was not concerned with identifying who was guilty and who was not. While it was not a convention, its implementation affected all countries whether or not they chose to carry out its provisions. Its main concern was transit of goods and not “proliferation” per se, which was compatible with different legal systems.
The second thematic debate focused on “assessment of whether States have undertaken measures derived from the 1540 resolution, including through the establishment and enforcement of appropriate criminal or civil penalties for violations of export control laws and regulations”. Mr. Andemicael said that over the one-year period from mid-2008 to mid-2009, more States were reporting more legislation than enforcement. Attempts to identify the reasons for that situation had been inconclusive. It was also clear that more measures were being taken with regard to chemical weapons than in the nuclear arena, perhaps because of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The representative of France said it was important to remember that traffickers were intelligent and stuck to States where enforcement measures were weak. Remarks by the United States representative centred on the 1540 Committee’s shift in focus from reporting to implementation. Towards that goal, he underlined five areas, already agreed by the Committee, to turn gaps into effective action, which included supporting regional and particularly country visits to identify the next steps for implementation and hiring temporary staff consultants to work in 1540-related activities in States.
Also participating in the thematic discussions this afternoon were the representatives of Austria, Venezuela, United Kingdom and Italy.
The discussions were introduced by Committee experts Berhanykun Andemicael of Eritrea and an intervention was made by Richard Cupitt of the United States.
Also making statements earlier today in the general debate were the representatives of Australia, Egypt, Uganda, Hungary (0n behalf of the Nuclear Suppliers Group), Argentina, Peru, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Iran, Thailand (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum), Costa Rica (on behalf of the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation), Jamaica, Chile, Finland and Venezuela.
Representatives of the African Union, the League of Arab States, and the Pacific Islands forum also addressed the meeting.
The comprehensive review of the status of implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 2 October.
The 1540 Committee met this morning to continue its comprehensive review of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). It was expected to conclude its general debate and move into the interactive portion of the review. For more details, please see Press Release SC/9754 of 30 September.
Gary Quinlan (Australia) said the continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was one of the greatest threats to international peace and security. Resolution 1540 was a timely and bold step in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction to non-State actors, and the resolution’s reporting element was an important part of that goal. Only when all States complied with their reporting requirements could the gaps in export controls be identified and the steps to ensure compliance be taken. Implementation of 1540 must build on a country’s own counter-proliferation and terrorism measures. Australia was working to strengthen that, as well as the international architecture on that front. It had hosted an Asian Pacific seminar on storage and facilitating the open-ended working group of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on terrorism. It fully supported the Chemical Weapons Convention.
He said that Australia was an active member of all the export control regimes and it currently chaired the Australia Group (self-described asan informal forum of countries which, through the harmonization of export controls, seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The work of those regimes and the practical counter-proliferation measures of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) underpinned the international disarmament and non-proliferation architecture. They also reinforced 1540’s implementation, as well as United Nations sanctions against Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Looking ahead, he said that the 1540 Committee must pursue concrete measures to enhance implementation. To do so, further engagement with regional bodies was necessary. Working within existing frameworks and arrangements provided the Committee with one of the best opportunities to achieve the objectives in the new phase of its work. The Pacific region, for its part, continued to benefit from strategic engagement with the Committee. He also strongly encouraged the Committee’s engagement with the export control regimes, including the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime. It was disappointing, however, that the Committee had been unable to engage with either group as part of its review, especially since both had established a relationship with it.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said that the work of the 1540 Committee had been of unquestioned importance in assisting the Security Council and the international community in general in working towards the universal implementation of the resolution as an element of the international non-proliferation and disarmament regime. However, full realization of the text’s goals and objectives remained dependent today, as they were at the time of adoption, on effectively addressing existing weaknesses in the international non-proliferation and disarmament regime and enhancing 1540’s effectiveness and universality in all regions of the world.
He said that Egypt, while continuing to advance and update all national means to implement the resolution, believed that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was the utmost threat to international peace and security, and to humanity at large. Eliminating that threat effectively should be based, in principle, on the total elimination of those weapons. In that context, it was logical and essential that the promotion of the implementation of 1540 be conducted together with strong efforts by the international community to address the proliferation of mass destruction weapons, in particular, nuclear weapons, in the Middle East where the existence of serious imbalances in commitments to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) fuelled serious proliferation risks. The crucial universality of the NPT remained unrealized.
In addition to national measures taken by Egypt, the country’s promotion of the implementation of resolution 1540 had also extended to the regional level, as it continued to engage both in the context of the League of Arab States and the African Union, in exploring further ways and means to achieve the resolution’s objectives. It shared national experiences in that regard, with a view to extending possible assistance to fellow Arab and African countries, which deemed such assistance necessary to support their national implementation efforts. Representatives of various Egyptian governmental authorities had also regularly taken active part in regional meetings and workshops held by the 1540 Committee.
PATRICK MUGOYA (Uganda) said terrorism and proliferation constituted a global threat that required a global response. Controls were needed to prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical, biological and other related weapons and material. Not only did resolution 1540 call for such controls, but it also requested countries to assist nations with limited resources in implementing their plans.
He said that Uganda, for its part, had a direct interest in the resolution and its implementation and called for greater cooperation between the 1540 Committee and regional organizations, he said. Uganda believed that the growing acceptance of the resolution of recent years had been due to the Committee’s cooperative approach in assisting States in implementation. The good working relations among the three Security Council Committees that dealt with terrorism were also appreciated. However, several challenges prevented many countries from achieving full implementation, resulting in delays in reporting progress thus far. Hopefully, the current discussions would contribute to overcoming the challenges.
GABOR BRODI (Hungary), speaking as Chair of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, said Governments participating in the group, which sought to contribute to the nuclear non-proliferation through implementation of two sets of guidelines for nuclear and nuclear-related exports, fully shared the goals and objectives of resolution 1540. The group’s guidelines aimed to ensure that nuclear trade for peaceful purposes did not contribute to nuclear weapon proliferation. It also sought to guarantee that trade and cooperation in the nuclear field was not hindered unjustly in that process. Thus, the guidelines facilitated trade by providing the means by which current international non-proliferation obligations could be consistently implemented. The guidelines also complemented the various international, legally binding non-proliferation instruments. Further, the group believed effective export controls were an important tool to combat the nuclear-weapon threat. Discussions on illicit procurement and trafficking were ongoing.
He said that the Nuclear Suppliers Group had consistently promoted openness and greater understanding, as well as adherence to its guidelines. The Troika of its past, present and incoming chairs had met interested non-participating Governments in the margins of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) fifty-third general conference. Those meetings had reinforced the clear need for information sharing, assistance and capacity-building in development and implementation of national nuclear export control regulation and in customs and border management. A best-practices guide had also recently been created by the Nuclear Suppliers Group. It could be used for outreach activities and to address challenges posed by intangible transfer of technology and end-use control. The group also had a second handbook for customs officials that contained visual information for easy identification of all items on the technical lists.
Concluding, he affirmed that the participants of the Nuclear Suppliers Group would work to harmonize their national export control policies in a transparent manner. The group would continue to contribute to nuclear non-proliferation, while also supporting the development of nuclear trade. It would also offer support to the 1540 Committee.
JORGE ARGÜELLO (Argentina) said that his country was the only one in Latin America that was part of the five export control regimes. To supplement its obligations under resolutions 1540 and 1810 (2008), it had submitted its national report to the Security Council Committee and had followed up with required updates. It had also adopted national legislation to support the implementation of the resolutions in Argentina. That legislation was constantly under review, in order to ensure that any necessary modifications were made. Argentina had established a technical group for training for the purpose of identifying sensitive goods. Nationals from Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and South Africa had participated as observers in a recent training programme.
He said that Argentina was convinced that effective control of technical and dual-use goods would only be possible through the harmonization of legislative action at the regional level. Among Argentina’s actions had been the promotion of the creation of a working group on weapons of mass destruction in the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) region.
Regarding the present comprehensive review, he said that the elements that had been identified in connection with implementation were clearly linked. All countries were aware of the risk faced by the global community in the nuclear field and, therefore, the need to make substantive progress. Argentina was firmly committed to ensuring that nuclear weapons were not acquired by terrorist organizations. It believed that those weapons should be eliminated and that States should not see their possession as a way of enhancing their negotiating position.
There were unresolved and pending issues regarding proliferation and lack of homogeneity in application, he continued. That diversity should be the subject of a review, in order to ensure better implementation. Initiatives for regional cooperation should also be strengthened.
GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ (Peru) said his country was committed to preventing nuclear proliferation. It supported the strengthening and universalization of legally-binding international instruments in that area. Peru also condemned all terrorist acts and methods, and supported international efforts that contributed to a sustained response to that phenomenon. Success had been made in establishing an international non-proliferation regime, but nearly a decade into the twenty-first century, that regime faced grave challenges. Instruments such as the NPT, Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, and certainly, resolution 1540, must be effectively implemented, particularly in order to prevent the possibility that these weapons and their means of delivery fall into the hands of terrorists.
He said that the Government of Peru was working to enact legislation and develop policies that supported 1540’s implementation. It had also organized a regional counter-terrorism seminar with the United Nations and Spain. As part of its fight against terrorism, it had assumed the chairmanship of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE). A recent meeting had focused on a range of issues, including, among others, border control and shipping policies.
International non-proliferation regimes must be strengthened by forging strong nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament agreements, he stressed. Towards that goal, the recent joint statement issued by the presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation on their bilateral disarmament plans was encouraging. Hopefully, along with other recent agreements and events, that would advance the international disarmament and non-proliferation agenda.
JIM MCLAY (New Zealand) said that his country was increasingly concerned about the potential link between terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and of the devastating impact if such a link was to converge in a major terrorist attack. No country was immune from that threat. New Zealand’s strong and consistent policy was that all weapons of mass destruction should be eliminated and that that elimination should be verified and enforced through robust, legally-binding multilateral instruments -– in particular, the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions and the NPT. Those instruments should be ratified and implemented by all States through comprehensive national legislation.
He said that the 1540 Committee had a role to play in developing and promoting best practices in that regard. The Committee should take into account the contribution of measures such as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in developing practical measures that supported the resolution’s implementation. Regarding the Proliferation Security Initiative, New Zealand had helped to develop practical tools to enhance interdiction capabilities within the Initiative’s community. It had hosted a major international counter-proliferation exercise in 2008 and participated, with assets and personnel, in regional exercises, and would take part in the upcoming Exercise Deep Sabre II, in Singapore. With those and other initiatives, the country had prioritized outreach in the Asia-Pacific region. Cooperation and coordination at the regional level had been the most efficient means of developing effective counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation measures.
While all countries should work together to counter terrorism around the globe, it was important to acknowledge that the obligations created by the international counter-terrorism framework could be particularly onerous on smaller partners, such as some Pacific Island countries, he said. That situation could be mitigated to some degree by ensuring a tailored approach that took into account the circumstances of individual regions and countries. Relevant agencies should take that need into account when working with such partners.
Countries should meet, not only their international counter-terrorism obligations, such as those in resolution 1540, but also maintain corresponding domestic legislation and procedures that were properly understood by the private sector and the public, he said. To ensure that New Zealand exporters were not inadvertently or otherwise complicit in the development or proliferation of mass destruction weapons, the country maintained a strong export controls regime and regularly engaged in outreach on those issues to its manufacturing and transportation industries.
GRIGORY MASHKOV (Russian Federation) said the 1540 Committee could count on his country’s full support. Indeed, the Russian Federation had been one of the earliest supporters of the resolution. It had worked to prevent weapons of mass destruction and related components and their means of delivery from falling into the hand of non-State actors and would continue to support a comprehensive monitoring system for weapons of mass destruction. Towards that goal, it must be noted that the resolution’s aim required a long-term horizon, as well as the full participation of all States. Any global monitoring system would be determined by the lowest common denominator. Thus, all States must work towards their own monitoring systems, as well as provide support for other States that required it.
He said that the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at last week’s Security Council meeting on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, had noted the need to step up the new proposals tabled by his country during negotiations with the United States on a new treaty to replace the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START). As far as the 1540 Committee was concerned, the comprehensive review was the “main event”. Individually and collectively, members of the international community must make a renewed commitment to implement the resolution. The effectiveness of the review directly depended on the right formulation of tasks. The discussion should be focused on key issues that would result in more effective implementation. Yet it should not move outside the framework of either 1540 or resolution 1810 (2008).
Attention should be paid to how the 1540 Committee worked and how it interacted with other United Nations bodies. Roughly 40 States had not submitted their reports, and the focus should now be on them. Cooperation with multilateral groups and regional and subregional organizations was also needed. Resolution 1540 maintained a “fragile balance”. Its strength lay in its federating foundation, which should be preserved. All efforts to further 1540’s implementation should be guided by mutual respect. The Russian Federation was ready to share its thoughts and was open to other ideas. It approached the review from a high level. Work on implementing the resolution was ongoing; it was working to improve its law enforcement, among other things. It had joined with neighbouring countries to design export controls. It was also working with other regional groups, including broadly within the Commonwealth of Independent States, where 1540 implementation was on the permanent agenda.
GUSTAVO ZLAUVINEN, representative of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that the Agency considered its contribution to global efforts towards achieving worldwide effective nuclear security to be both vital and urgent. In that regard, its third Nuclear Security Plan had been approved by its policymaking organs in September. That plan acknowledged that the risk that nuclear and other radioactive materials could be used in malicious acts remained high and, therefore, was regarded as a serious threat. It also confirmed that the responsibility for nuclear security rested entirely on each State, and that appropriate and effective national systems for nuclear security were vital in facilitating the peaceful use of nuclear energy and enhancing global efforts to combat nuclear terrorism.
He stated that the IAEA had learned that nuclear security was a long-term effort and that its nuclear security plan should adopt a long-term perspective; that priority should be given to the development of nuclear security guidance documents and to human resource development support; and that coordination with other international organizations and with relevant initiatives and bilateral programmes should be strengthened, with a view to avoiding duplication of efforts and filling gaps. The Agency cooperated actively with States and provided assistance, upon request. That was aimed at raising standards of nuclear security, in order to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism, by securing vulnerable nuclear materials, improving protection of nuclear facilities and transports, strengthening border controls and combating illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive sources. Such assistance might include capacity-building, guidance, human resource development, sustainability and risk reduction.
He reiterated IAEA’s call for the rationalization and harmonization of the various United Nations, international and regional counter-terrorism initiatives, in order to better deploy limited resources and avoid duplication of efforts. The Agency would work towards establishing and making available supporting coordination mechanisms, in order to strengthen interaction and coordination with bilateral support programmes and other international organizations. The IAEA held the view that, in the area of nuclear security, the focus should remain on assisting and empowering States to establish effective nuclear security and in supporting the Agency’s essential role in assisting them in that regard. Accordingly, the Agency encouraged the 1540 Committee to advise States to actively seek the Agency’s support in those matters.
ZHIXIAN LIU, Director of External Relations of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said his organization’s work was consistent with the larger objectives of promoting international peace and security and the specific goals of 1540. The ease of access to dual-use chemicals made it necessary for effective controls to be established over the production, processing, consumption and trade of chemical, particularly those that were toxic or have dual uses.
He said that OPCW, while not an anti-terrorism body, was a natural partner in efforts to prevent terrorism with deadly weapons. It had participated in all regional and subregional seminars organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. The Chemical Weapons Convention was the only treaty that mandated the destruction of an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. It had attracted the widest adherence in the shortest period of time. Indeed, in the decade since its operation, 188 countries had joined it. Under its provisions, all stockpiles must be destroyed and all relevant facilities were subjected to inspections. To date, 50 per cent of the world’s declared chemical weapons known agents had been destroyed, and their production and storage facilities retrofitted or destroyed.
Noting the Convention’s requirement that States with chemical stockpiles and production facilities declare them, he said that Albania, India, Libya, the Russian Federation, the United States and a State party that had requested anonymity, had done so. Albania, India and the anonymous country had completed their destruction. All production facilities declared under the Convention had been destroyed. Those accomplishments clearly contributed to global security and reduced the chances that non-State actors would gain access to chemical weapons. Indeed, full compliance at the national level provided effective measures against proliferation.
He said that the 1540 Committee’s own records indicated that efforts to implement 1540 showed higher levels of success in the chemical areas. That could be attributed to the work of the OPCW. The Secretariat of the Organisation remained ready to assist the 1540 Committee. It offered training programmes to first responders to incidents where chemical weapons were used. In cases of the use of chemical weapons, the Organisation was mandated to investigate. Should those cases occur in or be perpetrated by States not party to the Convention, it was mandated to work closely with United Nations Secretary-General, and, if requested, to put its resources at his disposal. Overall, the Organisation would continue to work with the international community and the 1540 Committee in their common endeavours.
JEAN DU PREEZ, Chief of External Relations and International Cooperation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (Preparatory Commission), said that the Security Council summit held on 24 September had marked the resolve of the international community to breathe new life into the multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The resulting resolution 1887 (2009) not only called for the overall strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, but was a significant contribution towards universalizing both the NPT and the CTBT, the need for which had also been established in resolution 1540. The call by the Security Council on all States to refrain from conducting nuclear test explosions and to join the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), thereby bringing the Treaty into force at an early date, brought that Treaty back to the forefront of the global multilateral and non-proliferation agenda. At a time when many challenges threatened the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, the test-ban Treaty was a uniting force in the multilateral system.
He said that since the adoption of resolution 1540, the risks and threats to the nuclear non-proliferation regime had significantly increased. Responding to those challenges required a fresh look at how States, relevant international and regional organizations and civil society could and should cooperate in addressing those threats effectively. In that regard, the recognition by the Security Council of the role of civil society was welcome. The CTBT and its verification regime, while not fully in force yet, was already a significant boost for the NPT. It complemented the IAEA Safeguards System and boosted the wider non-proliferation and disarmament regime. The CTBT verification system was also as an effective indicator of a State’s nuclear weapon capabilities and capacity to qualitatively improve those weapons.
In assisting States to implement their obligations under the CTBT and to maximize the benefits provided by the Treaty, the Provisional Secretariat had, over the past 10 years, arranged dozens of capacity-building and outreach workshops, and national implementation seminars. Those outreach activities and the experience of the secretariat in that regard were mutually complementary to the work of the 1540 Committee.
JACEK BYLICA, Head, WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Centre, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said that the work of the 1540 Committee played a central role in the international’s community efforts to stem the spread and delivery of weapons of mass destructions. He outlineed NATO’s recently-declassified “Comprehensive Strategic-Level Policy for Preventing the Proliferation of WMD and Defending against CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) Threats”, which had been endorsed by the Heads of States and Government at the Strasbourg/Kehl Summit earlier this year.
He said that, despite progress, serious threats to international security still remained, with occurrences of non-adherence to international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation commitments, as well as the development of biological science and technology to increase the bio-terrorism threat. There was also information that terrorists were planning to acquire chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials. To counter those serious circumstances, the international community must collectively develop a comprehensive and collaborative strategy.
Highlighting the Alliance’s recent actions and plans on implementing resolution 1540, he drew attention to outreach activities that included international non-proliferation seminars and subregional and regional-level workshops aimed at identifying nations’ unique implementation issues. One such workshop had taken place in Croatia in June 2008 and had focused on best practices in export controls, national action plans, and information-sharing among inter-agencies, institutes and the private sector. Because of its success, a second workshop was being planned for 2010 in Azerbaijan. Also available were exercises and activities to partners, such as the “Table-Top Exercise”, which had been held at NATO Headquarters in April 2008, and the “International Outreach CBRN Defence Event”, which had been held in April. NATO was the “appropriate forum for our partners to acquire knowledge as part of their capabilities building,” he stated.
Those regional events had enlightened him to the unresolved issues needing solutions, he said, stressing that to develop successful responses, an expanded and global scope of activities were required. Towards that goal, the alliance was considering establishing a trust fund to support the implementation of resolution 1540. NATO would be able to contribute to that initiative through its own large network of existing partnerships. He reiterated NATO’s commitment to promoting full implementation of 1540 through national capacity building. “I believe that the joint efforts of all of us will result in a much better implementation of resolution 1540, which is crucial to international peace and security,” he said.
ESHAGH AL HABIB ( Iran) said the continued existence and development of weapons of mass destruction threatened the whole international community. Iran considered acquiring, developing and using weapons of mass destruction to be inhumane, immoral, illegal and against its very principles. As a State party to all international instruments banning those weapons, Iran believed that the most effective way of preventing non-State actors from acquiring them was through their total elimination.
He said his delegation had submitted a written statement to last week’s Security Council summit-level meeting on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. It stated Iran’s belief that the mere existence of nuclear weapons was a source of horror, distrust and threat. Current disarmament efforts were far below international expectations for real steps towards total disarmament. Indeed, the nuclear-weapon States were obligated to comply with their legally-binding commitments to work fully towards eliminating their nuclear weapons. As long as they existed, there was a risk that they would fall into the hands of non-State actors. Disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, because they were mutually reinforcing, should proceed in parallel.
While the 1540 Committee’s establishment was a practical step aimed at filling the gap in the existing worldwide non-proliferation bodies, a number of serious and valid questions arose that were related to how fairly that body addressed the cases of all Member States, he said. Iran believed that the Committee’s work should not have an operative impact on the rights enshrined in the internationally-negotiated instruments, such as the NPT, the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions and the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Emphasis on prohibiting the access of non-State actors to weapons of mass destruction should not divert the international community’s attention from nuclear disarmament as the highest priority.
He said that, as Iran had indicated in the two reports submitted to the 1540 Committee, his country had refrained and continued to refrain from providing any form of support to other States and non-State actors that attempted to acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or their delivery means. According to Iran’s legal system, all international conventions and treaties that are ratified by Parliament became part of national law. Further laws and regulations banned and punished the smuggling and illicit trafficking of weapons and ammunition, including chemical, biological and nuclear material.
ALICE A. MUNGWA, Senior Political Affairs Adviser for the African Union, reminded participants that Africa remained fully committed to a world free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. “However, the continent remains vulnerable to their reach and impact, and African States continued to devote significant efforts to keep the continent free of such weapons, despite the resource limitations they face,” she said.
She said that the African Union had been building on the former Organization of African Unity (OAU) in pursuing normative and “capacity-development” efforts, which contributed to implementation of resolution 1540. She recalled several meetings, declarations, and treaties that had helped to set the stage for implementation. She noted a key agreement, the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty), which entered into force on July 15, following “unrelenting efforts for its ratification”.
Highlighting the most important aspects of the Treaty, she specifically pointed to its coverage of the entire African continent and surrounding islands. Moreover, it enunciated the guiding principles of denuclearization, disarmament and the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The Treaty contained four annexes and three protocols, open for ratification by specific States outside the zone. It established a legally-binding obligation on its parties to refrain from developing, producing, or otherwise acquiring nuclear weapons, and called for a halt to testing, allowing or encouraging testing, the dumping of radioactive waste, and the stationing of nuclear weapons on the territory of any of the Treaty’s member States.
Its parties committed to apply the highest standards of security and physical protection to nuclear material, facilities, and equipment to prevent theft and unauthorized use, and it prohibited armed attacks against nuclear installations within the zone, she said. The Treaty also banned research into nuclear explosive devices and required the destruction of any such device a party might have had prior to the Treaty. It supported the use of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes, and under its terms, each party undertook to conduct all activities for the peaceful use of nuclear energy under strict non-proliferation conditions. The Treaty was unique because it required the building of a regional organization to oversee full implementation -- the African Commission on Nuclear Energy, which would be a catalyst for cooperation among African nations in the various peaceful applications of nuclear energy and technology, environmental protection and international nuclear trade, thereby serving as a clearing house for African nuclear expertise and a regional partner for IAEA.
The African Union was taking other steps to contribute to 1540’s implementation, including the adoption of the Solemn Declaration on a Common African Defence and Security Policy, she noted. The Declaration would classify the accumulation, stockpiling, proliferation and manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and unconventional long-range and ballistic missiles, as external challenges to Africa’s continental security. She highlighted related steps to combat terrorism, which included the establishment of various institutes, adherence to conventions, and plans of action. In closing, she said that the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction weapons remained one of the most fundamental threats to global, human and environmental security. She thus reiterated the need for strengthening support for reporting and other efforts of African Member States. “The African Union looks forward to intensifying its internal efforts and cooperation with this  Committee and international partners in working towards ensuring the achievement of the purposes of disarmament for a more peaceful world.”
NORACHIT SINHASENI (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum (ARF), said that the challenge posed by proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and particularly the threat of their acquisition by non-State actors, had been a cause of concern for his forum from the very beginning. Following the adoption of resolution 1540, the Forum had recognised the importance of enhanced cooperation to address the challenges posed by weapons of mass destruction. Subsequently, in 2004, its chairperson had issued a statement on non-proliferation on behalf of the Forum participants, pledging support for the resolution and encouraging participants to undertake efforts to improve relevant national legislation, strengthen cooperation on information sharing and prevent illicit trafficking in mass destruction weapons and their means of delivery and related materials.
Today, he said, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was fully incorporated into the Forum’s work programme. Its vision statement, adopted in Phuket, Thailand, in July, identified non-proliferation and disarmament as one of the key common challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region, to which concrete and effective responses must be developed. The Forum had established an intersessional meeting on non-proliferation and disarmament as a process to promote dialogue and cooperation on key security issues in the region. The intersessional meeting had held its first meeting in Beijing in June. There had also been fruitful interaction between it and the 1540 Committee. The Forum, in its efforts to remain a central pillar in the evolving regional architecture, would continue to attach importance to promoting non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons and disarmament.
RADWAN BEN KHADRA, Head of the Legal Department, League of Arab States, said the League had made efforts to combat terrorism, by promoting and coordinating the efforts of Arab countries in that regard. In particular, its efforts aimed at supporting the 1998 Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. That convention punished all forms of terrorism, including the development and use of weapons of mass destruction. As such, it formed the legal basis for member States to implement resolution 1540 in their national legislation.
He said that Arab states had responded to 1540 through a number of actions. Among other things, they had provided the 1540 Committee with follow-up information. They had responded to relevant Security Council resolutions on preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Further, the League was considering establishing a dedicated office to coordinate that follow up. It would hold a workshop on relevant topics next month and had extended an invitation to the 1540 Committee to dispatch an expert to attend that meeting. The League was also “keen” on enhancing dialogue and competence with the Security Council bodies entrusted with combating terrorism, including the 1540 Committee, and urged all States to accede to the relevant conventions.
Stressing the clear relationship between combating terrorism and curbing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, he said that more work was needed where those the areas converged. Regarding the situation in the Middle East, the League was still calling on the relevant authorities to make the region a nuclear-weapon-free zone. On that front, it continued to express concern over Israeli non-compliance, and called on the international community to support Israeli cooperation with IAEA inspections. The League would work with all international parties and regional organizations, as well as the 1540 Committee, to ensure that that the provisions of 1540 were carried out in a clear and fair manner.
ANTON MARTYNYUK, Confidence- and Security-Building Measures Officer, Conflict Prevention Centre of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), highlighted the importance of the resolution, saying its implementation was essential for OSCE, both geographically, as one of the world’s largest regional organization with 56 participating States from Vancouer to Vladivostok, and operationally, as OSCE focused on the politico-military aspect of security as one of its main pillars.
He said that, since 2006, OSCE had actively engaged in the implementation of 1540. It had required a continuous collective effort to put the issue on the agenda as a priority. In the last couple of years, OSCE had had active discussions on the topic, including in its Forum for Security Cooperation and the Security Committee. There were two main elements of OSCE’s engagement, namely, normative and operational. On the normative guide, he expected a best practices guide, which would include suggested implementation practices that could assist in the development of national action plans by OSCE participating States. The chapters would include practices related to weapons of mass destruction; prohibiting non-State actors from acquiring those weapons; effective accounting and security; developing physical protection; and establishing border controls.
On the operational side, participating States considered putting a proposal forward in a strategy paper outlining a comprehensive regional approach to increase complementarity and deal with non-proliferation, anti-terrorism and border management, he said. There was an intention to set up an informal “Group of Friends of 1540” under the appropriate OSCE decision-making body. There was a realization of a strong need for individual assistance for some States, and thus, there was a proposal to launch a special extra-budgetary project within the Conflict Prevention Centre of the OSCE Secretariat. He urged cooperation with other regional international organizations, including IAEA and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs.
MATT LESLIE, Regional Security Advisor, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, said that in recognition of the threat of nuclear non-proliferation, the Forum’s Secretariat worked to support implementation of 1540 in the Pacific region. In that endeavour, it had received support from the 1540 Committee. Representatives from the Security Council’s counter-terrorism bodies had also participated in various regional forums. A customs risk management workshop had been held in February, and in April, a regional workshop on implementing 1540 had been held. A workshop on the global initiative to combat terrorism had also been held in Australia, and a regional workshop had also been held with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and South Pacific nations.
He said the Forum’s regional declaration called for a regional framework for countering money-laundering, human trafficking and proliferation, among other things. With its partners, the Forum had developed an important model law on customs that aimed to strengthen border control in the Pacific region. Nevertheless, the Pacific islands continued to face physical and fiscal limits on what they could do. Donors had undertaken initiatives to provide assistance, and he specifically thanked Australia, New Zealand and the 1540 Committee in that regard. Still, the reporting and implementation demands emanating from some international requirements, such as from resolution 1540, had become onerous for some of the Pacific island States. He welcomed the undertaking by the three expert counter-terrorism groups to continue to coordinate their work.
CHRISTIAN GUILLERMET (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, Ana Teresa Dengo-Benavides, said that the Code, adopted in 2002, was the only multilateral arms control mechanism “on the way to a capture of missile potentials”. The possession of military missile technology was neither prohibited nor restricted under the Code, however, such possession was linked to a set of principles and confidence-building measures. Those include, for instance, prior notification of missile launches and annual declarations with respect to national ballistic missile programmes.
Today, he said, the Code counted 130 participating States. With their active participation, the Code could actively contribute to the ongoing process of strengthening existing national and international security arrangements and non-proliferation efforts. Worldwide proliferation of missile systems, especially ballistic systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, could create regional instabilities and threaten global security. He was convinced that subscription to the Code was a practical step against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, as it was designed to build confidence and increase transparency in the framework of multilateral efforts against ballistic missile proliferation.
RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica) said that his country sought a world free of nuclear weapons as the only guarantee that such weapons would not find their way into the hands of non-State actors, but it also fully supported a multilateral approach to disarmament questions. For that reason, it had ratified the major relevant treaties. Jamaica also continued to provide updated information to the 1540 Committee, pertinent to the two reports it had submitted to date, and it would continue all cooperation necessary to fulfil its obligations under the resolution.
He said that there were a myriad of challenges to fulfilling the requirements of the resolution in the necessary holistic manner, many of which were being met with the support of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the wider international community. At regional workshops, it was found that coordination was often lacking among the many governmental units responsible for implementing the resolution. His country had addressed that problem by establishing one Ministry as the focal point for coordinating preparation of all counter-terrorism reports. However, limitations on human capacity, competing national priorities and “reporting fatigue” remained problems.
He endorsed the establishment of a voluntary trust fund dedicated to assisting with the resolution’s implementation, while recognizing that existing mechanisms should be strengthened to target areas where gaps had been identified. In addition, sharing best practices and expertise, and the involvement of international, regional and civil society organizations, remained crucial.
FRANCISCO DEL CAMPO ( Chile) said that the risk of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of non-State actors was a genuine threat to international peace and security. To avoid that threat, resolution 1540 had been designed to prevent those groups from gaining access to those weapons and their means of delivery. The momentum thus far had given rise to a positive trend, which could be built on to act to achieve the goal. The consensus that had been reached in the Security Council had been a harbinger of great hope.
He said that one way to ensure compliance with the terms of resolution 1540 was through a multilateral mechanism for export control. Such a mechanism should cover the transport of weapons of mass destruction and dual-use products. Chile had anchored its compliance with the terms of 1540 in national legislation. It had also demonstrated its desire to become involved in various mechanisms on disarmament and non-proliferation by participating in several agreements, including on ballistic missile proliferation. It was also active in global efforts to counter terrorism, and in initiatives on nuclear non-proliferation.
Chile was committed to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and to the full and effective implementation of 1540, he said. It resolutely supported 1540’s implementation and would continue efforts to enhance that process.
OUTI HOLOPAINEN (Finland), aligning herself with the statement made yesterday by the European Union, said the provisions of resolution 1540 were as timely now as they were at the time of the text’s adoption. The risk of proliferation remained a pressing challenge, deserving concerted action by the international community. Last week, Security Council resolution 1887 (2009) called for enhanced attention to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, thereby enforcing resolution 1540. The existing framework of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties was fundamental to international security and stability, within which the universalization and full implementation of the NPT and Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions would constitute “remarkable steps”. Other initiatives, such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, Proliferation Security Initiative and Group of 8 Global Partnership, were also welcome. International export control arrangements were also of direct relevance to 1540’s implementation.
She reiterated the “unquestionable” role played by resolution 1540 in addressing the dangerous combination of weapons of mass destruction and non-State actors. She noted that it was binding on all United Nations Member States and she underlined the United Nations role in international non-proliferation efforts. The question was how best to implement the text, which was a comprehensive one linking different sectors of society and national authorities. Smooth coordination between those bodies was a prerequisite to full implementation; there was room for improvement in that regard. There was also a need to raise awareness on proliferation risks and the obligatory nature of the resolution’s provisions. Awareness should be raised beyond State authorities, extending also to academia, industries, the transportation sector, and others. Providing resources and capacity was an essential component of the 1540 regime, and Finland welcomed efforts to link 1540 to national development agendas.
For its part, Finland was committed to the resolution and continued to work towards full compliance. It believed issues relating to export control were important. It was making contributions to the G-8 Global Partnership Programme and the IAEA and was training developing country experts to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention. She highlighted the useful role played by the OSCE and expressed confidence that a similar approach could be useful in other parts of the world. Non-governmental organizations could also make a valuable contribution to 1540’s promotion.
ANDREY V. PIROGOV, Director, World Health Organization (WHO) Office at the United Nations, said WHO had created a team to address overlaps between security and public health, which was tasked with establishing procedures to guide a public health response to a “potentially deliberate event” and addressing security concerns at high visibility and high-consequence mass gatherings. It had a “24/7” system of alert and response operations tested through annual exercises and real events. The WHO had the ability to mobilize international public health networks to assist countries to respond, including the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, ChemiNet (for alert and response to chemical events), the International Food Safety Authorities Network, and the Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network. The WHO was also strengthening its stockpiles for disease-specific risks, like smallpox, as well as exploring the possibility of a new global stockpile for radio-nuclear and chemical emergencies.
He said that WHO had established a mechanism to exchange information with other international and regional organizations. Formal mechanisms existed with various United Nations bodies, and ad hoc technical interactions occurred with the G-8 and organizations such as OPCW, Global Health Security Action Group, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), International Organization for Migration (IMO), NATO and INTERPOL. The WHO had worked with NATO and INTERPOL to provide disease-specific guidance. With the Disarmament Affairs Office, the WHO had worked to update the roster of experts and refine technical manuals relating to the Secretary-General’s mechanism to investigate the use of chemical, biological and toxin weapons. It had carried out technical visits and trained experts in that area.
At the national level, the WHO was helping to build core competencies to detect and respond to public health emergencies of international concern, he said. It had prepared guidance to help countries assess their readiness to deal with the public health consequences of deliberate incidents involving chemical, biological and radiological agents or materials. Guidelines relating to food contamination were also being made available to Member States. The WHO was providing training on laboratory standards to encourage safe use and safekeeping of biological materials. It was also exploring public health issues surrounding potential risks of accidentally or deliberately misusing life sciences research. The WHO was working with the European Union to strengthen the security of bio-laboratory and laboratory management practices against biological risks.
HARPER BOUCHER, INTERPOL Special Representative to the United Nations, said that among the worst fears about weapons of mass destruction were that they might fall into the hands of terrorists or organized criminals. While non-State actors did not operate within the parameters set out in international texts, it was those very texts that provided the cooperative framework to detect, prevent and prosecute those activities. In that context, international police action was particularly relevant.
He stressed that communications and information sharing were the lifeblood of police work. To that end, INTERPOL had developed a tool called “I-24/7”, which allowed all 187 member countries to share sensitive policing information, to request and offer assistance in international investigations and to access INTERPOL’s databases. Among other activities that supported 1540’s implementation, INTERPOL maintained a stolen and lost travel documents database, which contained 18 million entries and through which more than 500 criminals and terrorists were identified each month. INTERPOL, through its “notices”, alerted law enforcement worldwide of individuals who were under criminal investigation or who were the subjects of arrest warrants. In 2005, INTERPOL had created the “INTERPOL-UN Security Council SPECIAL NOTICE”, which was currently used by the Security Council’s “1267” Committee to alert law enforcement worldwide to individuals or entities subjected to sanctions in relation to Al-Qaida or the Taliban. The Fusion Task Force, which had been created in 2002 in response to the rise and increasing scale of international terrorist attacks, provided a proactive, multidisciplinary approach to assist member countries in terrorist investigations.
INTERPOL had created a Bio-terrorism Prevention Program in July 2004, three months after resolution 1540 had been adopted. Its purpose was two-fold: working to raise awareness regarding the bioterrorism threat and to provide specific training and guidelines to prevent and respond to that threat. On the training front, five regional workshops and six regional “train the trainer” sessions had been held, with 533 participants from 115 countries trained thus far. Table-top exercises had also been held in different regions, including in Europe in 2007, in the Asia-Pacific region in 2008 and in Eastern Europe last month. INTERPOL was also broadening access to its educational materials as part of its bioterrorism response programme.
In early 2005, INTERPOL had launched Project Geiger with data and financial support from the United States Department of Energy and the United States Argonne National Laboratory, he said. Soon after, IAEA had joined the project, which focused on collating and analyzing information on illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities regarding nuclear and other radioactive materials. It also participated in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and it was working with the Office for Disarmament Affairs to build two compatible bio-databases, one on bio-crimes and one on bio-incidents.
ILENIA MEDINA ( Venezuela) said her country supported the fight against terrorism from all levels and all angles. Venezuela was very proud to belong to a region that, because of its past, understood the value of peace. Towards that goal, it was notable that Latin America had been the second region to be declared free of nuclear weapons. Despite having a neighbour that had used such weapons, Venezuela continued to reject those weapons in favour of peace. Further, the Government of Venezuela rejected the existence and establishment of military bases. Venezuela participated actively in the many conventions against nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Particularly important to her country was regard for the principle of equality between States. That ran somewhat counter to the structure of the 1540 resolution. Nevertheless, Venezuela appreciated the work of the 1540 Committee since it provided information gathered from Member States.
She stressed that weapons of mass destruction were a “blemish on the page” of human history. Thus, Venezuela believed a binding instrument aimed at the destruction of all nuclear weapons was needed. For its part, Venezuela had no weapons of mass destruction, nor any plans to acquire them. It had several national laws regarding the criminality of developing and trafficking in them. Yet, common sense suggested that the work in the disarmament and non-proliferation field to be done by countries without mass destruction weapons was nothing compared to the work needed by those that had them. Further, a methodology that distinguished between countries with those weapons and countries without them should be drawn up as part of the 1540 Committee’s work.
Interactive Thematic Discussion
Having adjourned the general debate, Committee Chair JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) opened the interactive portion of the comprehensive review.
The discussion drew from a series of thematic papers that had been circulated earlier, via the Committee’s website (see http://www.un.org/sc/1540/comprehensive_review.shtml).
The papers were submitted by the Committee’s experts: BERHANYKUN ANDEMICAEL of Eritrea; OLIVIA BOSCH of the United Kingdom; ANA MARIA CERINI of Argentina; RICHARD CUPITT of the United States; ISABELLA INTERLANDI of Italy; NICOLAS KASPRZYK of France; PETR LITAVRIN of the Russian Federation; and SENAN MUHI of Iraq.
Mr. ANDEMICAEL, Coordinator and expert of the 1540 Committee, introduced the first of two topics, assessment of the impact of resolution 1540 (2004), by explaining that the Committee had published a series of papers on various themes. Their purpose was to identify the challenges in implementing resolution 1540, on the basis of information gathered from national reports and data compiled from outreach and dialogue with national officials. The Committee tried to raise questions and outline options for addressing the challenges. The papers were not intended to offer conclusions, but to present the issue for public reaction and critique, and to advance the review process.
Launching discussion, he began by stressing the difficulty in assessing the resolution’s impact because there was no single measure that the Committee could use. To begin with, Committee experts had identified 17,833 legislative and enforcement measures in place since 2007 across multiple States, some of which had existed long before the resolution was adopted. By 2008, that number had risen by 8 per cent, to 19,215. One explanation for the increase was better reporting, and not the establishment of new measures. Many of those measures covered multiple obligations, and were not 1540-specific. In other cases, specific obligations under 1540 were covered by multiple laws. It was thus difficult to assess the impact of 1540 on the development of those laws. However, it was interesting to note that, over a period of 37 years, States had adopted more measures during years of enhanced awareness about non-proliferation, with the number of measures jumping sharply in 2003, peaking in 2005 and dropping in 2006, but increasing again in 2007. That pattern was telling.
Turning to risk reduction, he acknowledged a dearth of data, making it difficult to assess whether 1540 had led to reduced security risks. Furthermore, the meaning behind the term “appropriate effective implementation” was unclear. The Committee was engaged in studying implementation at the national level, but it should also study the compatibility of different national systems in order to derive a conclusion about effective implementation at the international level. National implementation could be undermined by weaknesses at the international level.
He said similar questions existed regarding the compatibility of securing, physically protecting and controlling borders and the export, transit, transhipment and re-export of related materials. Resolution 1540 made several references to control lists, but the Committee did not examine the compatibility of those national lists or their incorporation into national policy and practice. In addition, countries opted for different legislative approaches: some adopted a “single-act approach” or “multiple-act approach”, but the Committee did not know how those approaches affected the compatibility of national systems with emerging international standards. The Committee could do well to increase its focus on the use of penalties and preventive enforcement, and might consider promotion of useful controls lists, he added.
Following that introduction, the United States representative remarked that resolution 1540 addressed the issue of proliferation finance, but did not clearly indicate actions Members States should take in that respect. Financial action in other security resolutions included targeted sanctions, or enhanced scrutiny of finance transactions. He suggested that the 1540 Committee study that issue.
The representative of Austria agreed with Mr. Andemicael that assessing the immediate impact of the myriad legislative and enforcement measures was complex and difficult. Member States possessed diverse legal and constitutional systems, which were difficult to compare. Perhaps studies could be made of prosecutions in proliferation offences, which could be used to derive a set of best practices on the types of penalties that were most effective. The Committee should also be informed when countries were planning new legislation, so that those countries could benefit from best practices. On control lists, he agreed with the expert’s comments. He also stressed that the Committee should not create new mechanisms, but use existing ones to conduct its assessments. For example, IAEA had an illicit trafficking database which the Committee could use.
The representative of Venezuela remarked that the resolution did not have the same kind of impact as a convention. For the resolution to be taken more seriously, she proposed, as a first step, that the Committee work harder to ensure that countries possessing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons exercised more transparency.
The delegate from the United Kingdom observed that existing laws could be adapted to be compliant to 1540, while other laws had broader benefits -- for instance, helping improve governance or spurring institutional reform. Hopefully, those wider benefits would encourage countries to implement 1540. However, it would be harder to assess the types of resources needed to implement 1540 if legislation was not 1540-specific. Indeed, if laws were not defined with 1540 in mind, then it followed that prosecutions would not be defined by 1540. Perhaps knowing which laws States could cite in their reporting would help them to understand the types of laws that were best suited to fulfil the resolution.
The representative of the Russian Federation said 1540 reflected a balance of interest among all States. It presupposed cooperation between States and was not concerned with identifying who was guilty and who was not. Certainly, the resolution was not a convention, but its implementation affected all countries, whether or not they chose to carry out its provisions.
He said the main issue in the resolution concerned transit of goods and not “proliferation” per se, and that the resolution was compatible with different legal systems. States engaged in proliferation were the weakest links, and the problem lay in not paying enough attention to those States.
The Committee seemed to lack criteria for evaluation, and he said he did not agree with its conclusion that successful implementation was too complicated to assess. Certainly, it was to be expected that different legal systems would have different modes of law enforcement. It was also to be expected that the resources needed to carry out the task would vary by country. Instead of making needless comparisons, Member States should focus on cooperation. The Russian Federation would soon circulate a document on that topic.
Agreeing, Italy’s speaker said it was difficult to make an assessment of how well the resolution was being implemented based on quantitative data provided in national reports. Instead, attention should be trained on identifying which national measures were of practical use in fulfilling resolution 1540, including preventative enforcement measures. In that regard, it was important to conduct outreach to industry and others. For its part, the G-8 was engaging with scientists and others involved in dual-use issues on their potential role in advancing non-proliferation. On the idea of circulating control lists, in which there was a huge divergence, he noted that unless there was a clear indication that an overall control list was being created, any effort to apply controls was doomed to fail.
The representative of the Russian Federation objected to a reference to document S/2006/815 in a paper being circulated by Mr. Andemicael, which he said was not pertinent to a discussion of control lists, since that document touched on sanctions lists. He stressed that “control” did not mean “prohibition”. Resolution 1540 was not a sanctions resolution, but a resolution for cooperation between States to prevent proliferation. Control lists drew attention to dual-use products where extra scrutiny was required. He then asked what the experts meant by “authoritative control lists”.
In response, Mr. Cupitt explained that the Committee often received queries from States asking, “What lists are there?” and “Where should we look?” For that reason, it had wanted to create a set of authoritative lists.
Picking up on a comment by the representative of Italy, the United States speaker remarked that the Committee had working groups to promote transparency and outreach. He said some forward progress was being made in that direction, as shown by their presence at today’s side events.
Taking the floor again, the representative of the Russian Federation returned to the issue of control lists. He explained that he was involved in compiling the control lists, and again made the distinction between sanctions lists, which he said pertained to nuclear suppliers. He stressed that the focus of the resolution was non-proliferation and preventing weapons from falling into the hands of non-State actors.
Saying the second paper supplemented the first, Mr. Andemicael then introduced the discussion’s second theme: “assessment of whether States have undertaken measures derived from the 1540 resolution, including through the establishment and enforcement of appropriate criminal or civil penalties for violations of export control laws and regulations”.
He noted that the paper had taken a wider view than its title suggested and included framework measures. That had been done to show relationships and highlight comparisons, where possible. It evaluated the implementation of national legislation in the three weapon categories in terms of prohibition laws, accounting, securing and physical protection, and border and export controls.
The comparison, which considered the legislation framework side of the matrix and the enforcement side over the one-year period from mid-2008 to mid‑2009, showed that more States were reporting more legislation than enforcement. Attempts to identify why had been inconclusive.
He said it was clear that more measures were being undertaken in the chemical arena than in the nuclear sphere, perhaps because of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Moreover, the comparison suggested that Member States needed to continue to work intensively to ensure 1540’s implementation. That was particularly true on the enforcement side. Tables and charts had been used to gain insight about challenges and options for further effort. With a few exceptions, particularly regarding nuclear weapon prohibitions, States had continued to report more on the legislative than the enforcement side. While that conclusion might confirm that enforcement was lagging, the 1540 Committee should consider asking States to provide more information on their enforcement efforts to ensure that that was not an artefact of data collection.
Taking the floor, Italy’s representative said that, while he basically shared Mr. Andemicael’s explanation, his own analysis of the figures suggested that on 75 per cent of the measures identified, more than half of the membership had taken no measures. In a review process, that was a “tragic” result and suggested there was a serious implementation problem. It might be useful to deliberate why that was the case and consider if it was due to limited capacity.
He further suggested that the Committee consider if all the sectors identified by 1540 as relevant were really perceived as relevant by the membership, or if the Committee’s work should focus on a smaller set. He offered border control as one area that could be a focus.
Austria’s delegate said that although more and more States had enacted legislative measures, legal measures in the area of “related materials” were particularly lagging behind. Austria had a wide range of laws in place and the centrepiece of that architecture was its penal code and various acts, such as the Foreign Trade Act. But as the paper made clear, even the best legislation might not suffice. A stronger focus on enforcement through, for example, border and export controls was needed. Information exchange was a prerequisite for remedying the issue. Austria also believed border and export controls were priority areas.
The representative of the Russian Federation said it was not necessary to compare the “state of affairs” across the spectrum of material. Indeed, the only conclusion he saw in the data was that the necessary legislative basis was still missing in many States. In fact, if there was no legislation, there was no implementation. Careful attention should be paid to that situation in order to achieve a global solution.
He said it was also important, from the standpoint of carrying out 1540, not to overburden States with reporting requirements, as that would only divert attention from the actual work. A practical balance was needed. He reiterated that it remained a major problem that, so far, nothing was known about the state of affairs in implementing 1540 in more than 30 States. Attention should be made to get a general picture of the situation worldwide.
The representative of France said it was an extraordinary opportunity to have a dialogue that went beyond the Committee’s normal discussions. Any enrichment in those discussions was helpful, particularly from States that did not typically sit in the Committee’s room. The report revealed clear gaps, including in the list of export controls and the whole biological sector, as well as the financial, transport and delivery sectors. There were also geographical gaps.
He agreed that there was a margin of interpretation when looking at the figures. Clearly the situation varied depending on the countries. Having said that, it was important to remember that traffickers were intelligent and stuck to States where enforcement measures were weak.
In France’s view, more needed to be done to strengthen assistance provisions and to consider how to deal with sectors where implementation was lagging, he said. When a single State was considered, a risk view was taken. As a universal organization, the 1540 Committee had to operate in consensus areas. Unfortunately, that meant that the approach was not always the most rational when it came to risk assessments. Nevertheless, it was necessary to work towards the convergence of the rational and the equitable.
Underlining those comments, the United States representative said the Committee had clearly shifted to an implementation focus. A comparison of the data from the 2006 and the 2008 reports showed there was still a tremendous amount of work to do. Tools were needed, not for more reporting, but to build capacity and competencies. He stressed that those ideas were already agreed and should be put into motion.
Towards that goal, he underlined five areas, already agreed by the Committee, to turn gaps into effective action, including: creating projects that supported capacity-building in States facing significant resource challenges; identifying specific regional needs, particularly in areas where assistance was needed; supporting regional and particularly country visits to identify the next steps for implementation; and hiring temporary staff consultants to work in 1540‑related activities in States and to supplement the work of the Committee’s eight experts; and supporting the assignment of a 1540 focal point in each country.
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