|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Security Council Committee
established pursuant to resolution 1540
29th & 30th Meetings (AM & PM)
What Was Once Seen as Security Council Interference in Domestic Affairs Now Viewed
as States ‘Coming Together for Common Cause’, 1540 Review Hears Upon Closing
Efforts to Staunch Spread of Mass Destruction Weapons to Non-State Actors Need
Practical, Targeted Assistance to Close 1540’s Implementation Gaps, Speakers Warn
For global efforts to succeed in preventing mass destruction weapons from falling into the hands of non-State actors, individual countries needed practical, targeted assistance to close current dangerous gaps in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), participants in a comprehensive review on that legally binding resolution said today as three days of meetings concluded.
Closing the assessment, which forms part of an ongoing review of implementation, five years after the Security Council compelled all States to develop and enforce domestic controls over the spread of those weapons, Jorge Urbina, Chair of the Security Council Committee established by resolution 1540, said the discussion had served to “remind us of our responsibilities” and to “dream of new forms of progress”.
He underlined the support for multilateralism that had been voiced throughout the comprehensive review. “What was once seen as interference by the Security Council in domestic matters was now viewed as the coming together of states for a common cause.”
Featuring the participation of intergovernmental and regional organizations, as well as Member States and the 1540 Committee’s own expert group, the wide-ranging debate looked at the current spectrum of risks and threats and highlighted emerging issues as well as possible new approaches to take as the Committee’s work shifted from a reporting phase to the more complex implementation phase.
During four thematic debates held during the final day of the review, Berhanykun Andemicael, coordinator of the Committee’s group of eight experts, which had produced a series of thematic papers on various implementation matters, outlined specific changes that could be made to the Committee’s reporting, outreach and assistance mechanisms to enhance national implementation efforts.
Overall, Mr. Andemicael suggested, 1540’s complexity often befuddled national implementation plans. Many, if not most, States faced substantial obstacles to preparing specific implementation road maps. The many instances of minimal or non-reporting by States were particularly acute in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and the Americas. The low response rates seemed to reflect a lack of capacity or expertise regarding 1540’s implementation.
To raise those levels and improve implementation, the group’s analysis indicated, among other things, that technical assistance could be channelled to address the problems of non-reporting States. Moreover, in some critical cases where no progress at all had been made since 1540’s adoption, that assistance should extend to help drafting legislation.
The representative of the Pacific Islands Forum underlined the gaping need for more assistance among that group’s members. It was hard to describe their limited resources and capacities. For them, priorities were simply different. That did not mean that they wanted to ignore their international obligations, but they had a long way to go to strengthen borders and take other actions that would fulfil their implementation obligations. Even putting together the required reports often proved difficult or beyond their means. Remedying the situation was not just a matter of another workshop; he called for more tailored reporting mechanisms and a more realistic approach to implementation by the Committee, which should keep in mind the situation of countries like those he represented.
Many Member States welcomed the expert group’s analysis and recommendations. Several specifically emphasized that the Committee’s means of matching requests for assistance with offers of help should be strengthened. France’s representative suggested that, among other things, a search engine could do much to remedy that. The Committee also needed to improve the time it took to respond to requests for assistance.
A few delegations suggested that the Committee focus more efforts on specific country visits. The representative of the United Kingdom said that in the new implementation phase, seminars had diminishing returns, but visits by small groups of experts, with the consent of those countries, could prove to be the starting point for legalization and enforcement.
Several delegates called for more interaction with the experts, with some suggesting that that should include informal interaction between experts and national focal points. South Africa’s delegate said that the Committee might also facilitate meetings at Headquarters or arrange group visits to maximize its limited resources.
Throughout the day’s discussions, the representative of the Russian Federation emphasized the cooperative nature of the resolution. That meant, among other things, that country visits could never be compulsory. He also cautioned against any moves to increase the work of the expert group or overburden Member States with more reporting requirements, stressing instead that a streamlined focus on countries most in need of assistance was required. The Committee could also consider creating more straightforward country-specific matrices to encourage higher levels of accountability and to avoid blank spots.
The representatives of Austria, China, Brazil, United States, Italy, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Thailand, Singapore, the Netherlands, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Libya, Japan, Qatar and Indonesia also participated in the interactive debates.
A representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) also spoke.
Committee expert Richard Cupitt of the United States also commented.
The 1540 Committee met this morning to continue its three-day comprehensive review of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).
Discussion was expected to draw from a series of thematic papers submitted by the Committee’s group of experts, which had been circulated earlier, via the Committee’s website (see http://www.un.org/sc/1540/comprehensive_review.shtml).
The Committee’s experts are: 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.
Interactive Thematic Debate
Triggering discussion on the impact of national implementation measures on individuals and due process standards was Mr. ANDEMICAEL. He said the paper on that topic explored a new area of consideration that might be encountered in implementation. The resolution did not seem to require any specific intent as an element of the crime. Thus, the liability of the actor was a common one based on “ascertainment of the material commission” of an act prohibited by law.
In other words, he said the relevant questions were whether the possession of illicit weapons of mass destruction material, even without evidence of an intent to use it, was a crime, and if the fact of its being so dangerous if used for terrorist purposes justified invoking a “status of emergency” that could change the normal criminal proceedings.
So far, he said, no State had reported having granted law enforcement agents with special or extraordinary search arrest or detention powers. Nor had they reported having limited the legal representation right or the right to be assisted by an interpreter. Nor had they denied any due process standards, such as the right to appeal, when violations of relevance to 1540 had been uncovered.
Nevertheless, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had prioritized the question of protecting human rights in the context of counter-terrorism measures. Moreover, as the Secretary-General’s Policy Working Group on the United Nations and Terrorism had recommended in its 2002 report (document A/57/273-S/2002/875), the independence of the judiciary and the existence of legal remedies were essential for the protection of fundamental human rights in all situations involving counter-terrorism measures. Governments and human rights organizations could use the Digest -- a collection of jurisprudence of international and regional human rights bodies on the protection of those rights in the counter-terrorism fight -- in developing policies to combat terrorism.
Finally, the Security Council had declared in resolution 1456 (2003) that “States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, and should adopt such measures in accordance with international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law”.
It had been difficult, Mr. Andemicael said, for the experts to analyze how States could make those standards applicable in implementing the provisions of 1540. The Committee could consider inviting States to provide information, as appropriate, on how they handled due process issues in measures related to 1540. States could also be encouraged to verify whether their legal proceedings were aligned with due process standards and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights.
When the floor was opened, the representative of the Russian Federation said that the delegation that had put the topic forward should take the floor. For its part, the Russian Federation believed that the experts were already burdened with other, more pressing matters.
Austria’s representative said his delegation had proposed that the issue be addressed as part of the comprehensive review. It was not a new topic, but concerned all States affected by the various terrorism-related Security Council resolutions. As the paper made clear, the issue needed attention.
He said there were a number of reasons why the question of due process was especially important. Pointing to operative paragraph 2 of 1540, he noted the requirement that States adopt and enforce appropriate and effective non-proliferation laws, in accordance with their national procedures. In line with international human rights instruments, those laws also had to meet several procedural standards. Those same standards applied to the obligations of operative paragraph 3 (c), which required the development of effective domestic controls, such as border controls.
Pointing to a number of international instruments, including the 2005 World Summit document and the General Assembly’s counter-terrorism action plan, he said that those texts underscored the need for counter-terrorism measures to comply with international law.
He said that cooperation in non-proliferation efforts by nationals and other entities would be better if they were assured of international legal protections. Thus, his delegation considered the proposals by the experts to be helpful. States should enhance their legal architecture, in order to ensure that it supported due process and the relevant guarantees.
The representative of China agreed with the position of the Russian Federation. His delegation had taken note of Austria’s comments, but 1540 -– more recent than resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1373 (2001) -- should not be compared to those in too simplistic a way. At present, 1540’s implementation was still at the reporting and capacity-building phase. Under such circumstances, the 1540 Committee should take a step-by-step approach. China was concerned that any new elements that were introduced into the Committee’s work would burden States and delay 1540’s implementation.
Brazil’s representative said the respect for human rights was vital in the implementation of all Security Council resolutions, including 1540. Nevertheless, it was not clear that the 1540 Committee was the appropriate forum to discuss ensuring due process standards. Ensuring that due process was respected throughout all phases of implementation was a complicated matter. In that sense, he wondered if caution should be exercised before States were asked to report more information. The more that was required, the more assistance would be needed.
The United States representative said that his country had strongly supported the language in resolution 1810 (2008) about the three counter-terrorism committees working closely together. It was important to seek views on how their work was being rationalized. He recalled the existing robust body of treaties and instruments.
He reiterated, however, the point he had made earlier in the comprehensive review that the independence of non-proliferation regimes, and thus of the 1540 Committee, should be maintained.
Italy’s representative agreed that the due process issue was one of the most complex that the expert group had addressed in the lead-up to the comprehensive review. He shared the views of Austria, as well as the others that had taken the floor to ring a note of caution. It would be difficult, if not inappropriate, for the 1540 Committee to open a debate on how due process was implemented, or not, by the Member States. It was not the 1540 Committee’s mandate and it was not what was expected of the review process. Still, Austria’s point that all investigations should not impinge on respect for human rights was extremely relevant.
Towards that goal, he suggested that delegations consider the issue from another angle: that the respect for the rule of law or for anyone accused of violating the law largely depended on how clearly the law was spelled out. In the realm of non-proliferation, it was essential for those who might be confronted with allegations of proliferation that the crimes and their penalties should be clearly defined. That brought the discussion back to considering where loopholes existed and how they made the implementation of 1540 more difficult.
He stressed the need to redouble national efforts to fill in gaps and close legal loopholes. National legislation with no loopholes was a better tool to implement 1540 and its related obligations, and would better serve non-proliferation goals. It would also make the judiciary’s job easier, thus serving the dual purpose of upholding both non-proliferation and due process goals.
France’s delegate said it was clear that implementing 1540 was a national responsibility. It was also clear that distinctions should be drawn between the sanctions committee and the 1540 Committee. That notwithstanding, it was important to raise the due process issue, as Austria had, and it was also legitimate for the Committee to address the question. Indeed, the resolution touched on cross-cutting issues to combat proliferation, and the obligations it imposed could not be used to justify restrictions on freedom.
The representative of the Russian Federation asked the experts how much working time they had spent preparing the paper on this topic. Underlining the fact that implementing 1540 was a State responsibility, he said that raising an issue that was very political in nature and that related to a country's national peculiarities, as did the due process question, distracted the 1540 Committee from some of the most important questions.
In fact, he said the mandate of 1540 did not relate to human rights. Moreover, it varied in its applicability. If the Committee and its members wanted more countries to go along with 1540, why raise the human rights issues here? It would only become a “headache”.
His country was not opposed to discussing human rights, but, like the United States, believed that 1540 was a non-proliferation resolution. It was true that 1810 called for cooperation with the other counter-terrorism committees. But the current topic introduced an element to 1540 that was not justified from its mandate. That did not mean the Russian Federation did not want to cooperate with the counter-terrorism bodies. Rather, it believed that the experts’ time would be better spent by focusing on more practical issues.
Responding to some of those points, Austria’s delegate said he agreed that the focus of 1267 and 1373 was different. But all three texts targeted individuals. Further, all three committees were working together. While 1540 was more recent, it did not mean that the 1540 Committee should ignore questions that had come up in the other committees, particularly those related to human rights.
Mr. ANDEMICAEL said the experts had worked on all the papers. He did not want to leave the impression that more time was spent on a single paper. All the topics had been considered, as had the matrices. Indeed, more time had not been spent on this topic. The experts often had experience and knowledge that they brought to the discussion. “We are not complaining,” he said, stressing that the experts had brought considerable knowledge to this topic being discussed.
Launching the second thematic debate of the day, Mr. Andemicael explained that the group of experts had explored the feasibility of a regional approach to implementation. In that process, they had discovered that regional analyses were rather limiting. To start with, the concept of regionalism was itself vague; secondly, there were too many non-reporting States or States that had supplied too little information. The low response rate was believed to reflect a lack of capacity or expertise with respect to 1540’s implementation, particularly in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and the Americas. Indeed, observations from regional workshops seemed to confirm the existence of those difficulties, and that legislation on the issue might not even exist in some States at all.
Nevertheless, in some regions, implementation was gaining ground, he said, most notably in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Increasing success there could be helpful in setting normative guidelines for other regions. Common standards and experience-sharing were important in similar groups, such as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), European Union and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
He said that a case could be made to channel technical assistance to address problems of non-reporting States. Future analyses might be focused more on groups of States with similar legal traditions, or those facing similar circumstances. The Committee needed to go beyond outreach and help provide assistance in legislative drafting. It should also explore the usefulness of employing regional norms to set national priorities, as well as the idea of draft model laws.
Following the introduction, the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered a presentation on a national programme, “Implementation Programme against CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) Terrorism”, or IPACT. Biological or chemical attacks were a proven danger, as shown through the sarin gas attack in Tokyo in the 1990s. Biological attacks were dangerous because their effects could go unnoticed for weeks, becoming apparent only when the first victims appeared at the hospital. Contamination could remain for years after the event. Counteracting such attacks required a great deal of coordination, and strained Governments.
In recognition of that, the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina had launched IPACT, with the help of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the delegate explained. Through IPACT, it had established a national implementation unit on weapons of mass destruction, non-proliferation and counter-terrorism issues. Funding had recently been received from the Norwegian Government. IPACT was one way to integrate industry and academia groups that often worked with, or knew much about, dangerous materials into the country’s 1540 initiative.
Such programmes were useful in helping countries to identify concrete functions to stop proliferation, by looking beyond cultural biases towards the functionality of component-actors and technology, said the speaker. IPACT aimed to enable disparate yet linked bodies to “interface” correctly and to help build regional knowledge, with Bosnia and Herzegovina as a pilot country. A stakeholder analysis would take place at year’s end, and be followed by a donor conference in mid-February 2010 to raise funds to carry out the programme.
The representative of Thailand said her country had endorsed various laws pertaining to controls of nuclear-related materials, and was using the European Union control list as a guideline for dual-use materials. The Government was conducting outreach with the private sector to keep them informed. It was now engaged in capacity building to identify dual-use items, detection of their transport and investigation techniques in export control violations. A regional workshop had taken place in April involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in line with Thailand’s view that exporting and recipient countries needed to cooperate closely to monitor and control the movement of mass destruction weapons and related material, and to alert each other about suspicious cases.
The representative of Singapore said his Government’s participation in the three-day workshop had contributed to a deeper understanding of implementation challenges. Singapore had the world’s busiest port -- 29 million containers had been processed in 2008 -- which set it apart from other States in the region. Perhaps it would be more useful to categorize countries in terms of issues they faced and not simply in terms of what region to which they belonged. Singapore believed in taking a hard look at export controls and the supply chain, and had robust laws on export controls and an enhanced export control list, with a catch-all provision for potential weapons of mass destruction items that could slip through the cracks ‑‑ those that were transmitted through electronic transmission by fax, email or Internet.
Continuing, the delegate said Singapore’s system of coordination brought policy-makers, enforcement authorities and technical experts together. As the world’s busiest port, Singapore must balance security issues with commercial concerns, and systematic outreach to industry was of prime importance. Before goods were transferred out of Singapore, traders must submit information online through a system called “Trade Net”. The Government also performed post-shipment checks and examined paper trails.
The representative of the Netherlands said a seminar in The Hague last March had demonstrated the need to improve international coordination among countries, international and regional organizations. Aside from information exchanges, such organizations must learn to support each others’ capacity-building efforts. They might also benefit from funding through the United Nations or funds channelled through the 1540 Committee.
Burkina Faso’s delegate pointed to regional variations in implementation, in particular, Africa’s low contribution, explaining it this way: Africa was large, with 53 States on the continent, making it difficult to monitor implementation; and African countries faced a number of competing priorities. Against that backdrop, it was difficult to provide information on such a highly technical topic. He suggested that the expert group reach out to regions such as Africa to help them better prioritize their needs. Countries in the West African subregion, which was one of the smaller subregions in Africa, enjoyed good cooperation, sharing financial know-how, police training, and other resources. A system should be established to match countries requiring assistance with countries that could provide it, he added.
The representative of Pakistan noted the constraints under which the Committee worked, but praised it for its efforts. The matrix prepared by the Committee was useful in identifying the areas requiring further attention. However, creating a single model for assessing national implementation might not be relevant, given the differences that would always exist between countries. Existing national laws might be adequate for implementing and enforcing 1540 and rigid interpretation by the 1540 Committee should be avoided. There should be more informal interaction between experts and national focal points on such matters. The present review should identify approaches to facilitate cooperation between States and address unresolved issues and it should be based on an examination of national and relevant regional reports. While there were those who argued for a new negotiated agreement in place of a Security Council resolution, their numbers were few; there was a need to focus on ensuring how best to implement 1540 and avoid placing road blocks in the way. He suggested that experts avoid the temptation to create model legislation; regional differences existed, and thus the ability to enforce model laws “may not be there”.
Libya’s representative said grouping the information into matrices was useful, as were the solutions suggested by the Committee to aid regions whose implementation was not as strong. He noted that some countries had not even submitted their first report on implementation. The expert Committee should spend more effort to help those countries. Those States needed tools to operate in ports and airports, and perhaps international financial assistance should be mobilized to help them to acquire those tools.
The representative of Japan said his country promoted regional cooperation through talks and information-sharing, and he urged that exchanges of that nature take place more often.
The delegate from Qatar urged States not to stray into the politics of proliferation. The best way of prohibiting mass destruction weapons from landing in the hands of non-State actors was by implementing existing instruments, such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). At the same time, non-proliferation treaties should not be used to keep States from exercising their right to use nuclear materials for peaceful purposes. Also, Israel should consider implementing the resolution calling for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. Qatar had held a workshop on the implementation of 1540 recently, focusing on the important role of regional organizations. He noted, however, that no such workshop had been held in industrialized countries.
The representative of the Russian Federation urged that focus be returned to countries most in need of assistance. To encourage higher levels of accountability and to avoid blank spots in the matrices, the Committee could consider creating more straightforward country-specific matrices. He noted a comment by the United States representative a few days ago on the idea of expanding the expert committee, and said additional experts should be devoted primarily to regions where there was less reporting. Progress was being made in the Commonwealth of Independent States on national monitoring systems. Regional studies were considered secondary to national analyses, he added.
France’s representative noted that there were a substantial number of non-reporting countries or those that were reporting only minimally. They tended to be from the same regions, reflecting differences in national priorities or perhaps a different way of determining what was at stake. With such difference of opinion on what constituted risk, it would be difficult to take a risk-based approach to 1540 implementation. Seminars, while beneficial, were not in themselves enough; attention at the individual level could prove more useful.
The representative said that France had spent a great deal of time and resources to re-work its national legislation on non-proliferation, which was currently before Parliament. It might be useful to share those “model” laws with the francophone world and countries that used Roman law.
The representative of the United States agreed on the need to move beyond seminars and to conduct country visits, in accordance with those country’s wishes, although he did not wish to diminish the role of workshops and seminars, which had done much to raise awareness of the issue. He also suggested that it was time to promote a voluntary fund to help States take practical steps to implement 1540. Resolution 1810 (2008) had tried to advance those ideas. The Committee’s work programme, with its four working groups (monitoring and national implementation; assistance; cooperation with international organizations, including the 1267 and 1373 Security Council Committees; and transparency and media outreach), had set the stage for more to be done. International organizations should be encouraged to offer workshops in practical areas, based on their particular expertise.
The United Kingdom’s representative said that 1810 and its programme of work gave a clear mandate to intensify regional efforts, and that targeted efforts should be made, such as country visits, if requested by those States.
Kicking off the third interactive discussion on developing practical means to address the most common and dangerous implementation gaps, Mr. ANDEMICAEL said the Committee currently had five tools by which it offered technical assistance to countries to further their implementation of 1540. First, a legislative database listed the laws of more than 100 countries. By making public the requests for and offers of cooperation, the technical assistance database aimed to match assistance and needs. It currently listed requests for assistance from 20 States and offers from 46 States and 12 international bodies. A template for assistance requests had been developed and had apparently increased the rate of successful requests.
He said that, in addition to using the United Nations Trust Fund for Global and Regional Disarmament Activities, the Committee was also deliberating how to guide and oversee voluntary contributions to that fund. Finally, the Committee had encouraged States in its two Security Council reports to develop and submit action plans or road maps on 1540’s implementation, but only two had been received.
The Committee still faced several challenges in leveraging those tools, he said. Resolution 1540 had multiple objectives and did not establish priorities or hierarchies for their implementation. That often meant that the resolution’s complexity befuddled implementation plans. Many, if not most States faced substantial obstacles to preparing implementation road maps. However, experience suggested that implementation was not substantively advanced without them except by fortunate accident.
He noted that the Committee delivered direct assistance on a very limited scale and even that had stretched its resources. At the same time, the Committee had not used new communication tools that might aid more efficient implementation. Moreover, assistance requests were often too general. While the assistance request template had been designed to make them more specific, relatively few States had yet to use it. Cooperation with international organizations also remained ad hoc and irregular. And although group requests for assistance might be relevant, particularly for cross-border activities, the Committee did not have a strategy to foster submissions of such requests.
The expert group, in its thematic paper, recommended six options for the 1540 Committee to consider: develop and distribute a sample implementation plan to guide countries; overhaul the two legislative and assistance databases to make them more user-friendly; identify incentives for States to make regional or subregional requests; use trust funds, such as the Trust Fund for Global and Regional Disarmament Activities or any future voluntary trust fund; take advantage of networking technologies to bolster assistance programmes; and sponsor more analysis of results, offers and related assistance programmes, in order to develop more effective matching strategies.
The representative of the Pacific Islands Forum said it was hard to describe the limited resources and capacities of countries like those in the Forum. For them, priorities were simply different. That did not mean that they wanted to ignore their international obligations, but they had a long way to go in strengthening borders and taking other actions that would fulfil their implementation obligations under 1540. Even putting together the required reports often proved difficult or beyond their means.
He stressed that it was not a matter of another workshop. Rather, a more tailored reporting plan was needed. Maybe one template and single reporting channel would aid developing countries. He urged the Committee to take a realistic approach towards implementation, particularly keeping in mind the situation of countries like those he represented.
South Africa’s delegate asked if access to the database was the sole problem. Also, would the Committee benefit from the most basic approach, namely, dialogue with Member States right here at Headquarters to overcome some of the constraints that had been identified? Further, for those delegations that had been unable to fully participate in the review, was it possible to present comments in writing?
The representative of France said his country headed up the group on assistance and, in that capacity, welcomed the recommendations of the group of experts on enhancing outreach.
In his national capacity, he voiced support for the experts’ report, particularly its suggestions that States could provide direct assistance. Presently, it was not easy to know what country had made requests and in what specific areas. A search engine could do much to remedy that. Further, the Committee needed to improve the time it took to respond to requests for assistance.
Regarding coordination with other institutions, he noted the emphasis by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during yesterday’s meeting that duplication of work should be avoided. He urged the experts to work with the Agency. Recalling his delegation’s “total” support for country visits, as well as efforts to combine the Committee’s work with initiatives aimed at improving governance, he said consideration should be given to possible collaboration with entities such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other intergovernmental organizations like the European Union.
The representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) confirmed that options suggested by experts would help. His organization had some experience in affecting the creation of norms, and the group’s recommendations on that front seemed in line with those experiences. He stressed that Member States needed access to the experts and underlined the need for countries to develop focal points. On both fronts, the Internet could be a cost-effective way to enhance communications.
Austria’s representative said that closing implementation gaps was essential to ensure that loopholes in some countries did not offset progress in others. In that, combating impunity was also critical. He urged all countries to cooperate with the IAEA. The increased use of the assistance request template should be encouraged. National implementation plans could also be useful. The experts’ other recommendations would aid the development of more effective matching strategies. The Committee should also directly engage States, where necessary.
South Africa’s representative asked for more clarification on country visits. Specifically, he wondered what the purpose of those visits would be, whether they would be in response to actual requests, what the criteria for evaluations would be during the visits, and the feasibility of group visits.
Mr. CUPITT said that the expert group would be happy to receive written comments at any time. The group was looking to do its job more effectively. He did not have much more to offer on country visits, but could not imagine that the group would visit countries that were not interested in having them. Thus, it was likely that those visits would be triggered by specific requests.
France’s representative clarified that he did think South Africa was questioning the importance of country visits. He recalled a seminar, rather than a country visit, that had been held in Uzbekistan, which had proven quite beneficial in helping a country requesting specific assistance.
He stressed that with 32 countries not having reported at all, as well as a large number that reported minimally, and whole sectors where there were large gaps, creative thinking was needed. The European Union had a fund that might be tapped. A one-week visit by three experts with one or two follow-up trips to several countries might not be more costly than a seminar. Finally, it was out of the question to impose a country visit on any nation.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that country visits should be a matter of cooperation. Indeed, as was clearly stated in 1540, the Committee could not impose its services. The resolution’s mandate should not be enlarged. Further, it was a cooperative resolution, not a compulsory one, and the consent of a requesting country was essential. He agreed travel could be economized, including by visiting more than one country.
Regarding the new tools that had been proposed, he could not confer his agreement on all of them. Specifically, he had been struck by the action plans and was unsure how they related to assistance requests. Further to the action plans, the provisions of 1540 should be revisited. The Russian Federation did not envisage developing a plan of action, since it already worked routinely on 1540’s implementation. If one read the United States’ action plan, it was clear it was not actually related to implementation, but to assistance.
He cautioned against bureaucratizing assistance. So many working papers and documents had been developed, but perhaps the money spent on them could have been better spent on helping countries implement the resolution. A sensible balance was needed. The 1540 Committee should not be overburdened. The results of additional work would be dubious. An enormous amount of time had already been spent on things that were not worth it.
The representative of the United Kingdom said the paper had been good, and his delegation supported all of its recommendations. The suggestions on national action plans were quite relevant and, as elaborated in resolution 1810, were purely voluntary.
He noted that the Committee had moved beyond creating rules and was focused on implementation. At that stage, seminars had diminishing returns. Visits by small groups of experts, with the consent of those countries, on the other hand, would actually be the starting point for legalization and enforcement.
Noting suggestions that a tailor-made 1540 trust fund might be appropriate, he said, however, that a compelling case had not been made. The United Kingdom was concerned that the Security Council did not have a proven track record with managing money. Instead, sponsored funds should be used to boost implementation.
Introducing the review’s final thematic discussion on the effectiveness of the Committee’s existing templates, Mr. ANDEMICAEL said Member States considered the matrix to be quite complex. It was designed to provide a single snapshot of the status of implementation, but it did not indicate when measures were taken. Further, while implementation went beyond the mere existence of legislation and actually depended on enforcement, the matrix did not sufficiently evaluate enforcement. It also did not seem to set any standards, as no model laws or benchmarks had been identified.
He said that although all States were compelled to implement the resolution, in practice, that had been taken to mean all United Nations Member States. However, some areas did not fit neatly into that category, such as special administrative regions or colonies that had autonomous relationships with their administering Powers.
To address those issues, the expert group suggested several alternatives and changes. First, the matrix’s complexity should be reduced without losing essential information. The Committee could simplify the matrix by providing more guidance and assistance to States on the specific types of useful evidence. That could be done by eliminating dependent fields or using electronic submissions. Simply adding a date stamp or column would not suffice in addressing the “snap-shot” problem. Rather, the time needed to undertake certain measures should be indicated.
The experts believed that different forms of evidence and new types of substantive information could be gathered without increasing the burden on States. The matrix could be adjusted to recognize State efforts to conform to global norms that were related to 1540. They should also be able to share experiences in implementing those norms. More deliberation was needed to address the issue of non-State entities, specifically how to incorporate them into the Committee’s work.
The representative of Austria said both the experts and Member States needed help to monitor how well Governments were meeting their obligations, which varied by country. The 1540 matrix could be an important tool for helping States identify gaps in their implementation and could prove useful in determining the types of technical assistance they needed. It provided a basis for an informed dialogue between experts and States, and should therefore be updated in light of recent experiences. He agreed on the need to find ways to reduce its complexity, including turning it into a web-based tool. Adding a time element could help spur solutions more quickly. Austria would not be opposed to collecting different types of data, especially if other countries agreed with that idea.
The representative of China, addressing the term “highly autonomous entities”, noted that the United Nations was composed of sovereign States. The 1540 Committee, in turn, was a subsidiary body of an entity composed of 15 of those Member States –- the Security Council. He did not understand the need to refer to “highly autonomous entities”, and asked whether the 1540 Committee had the authority to define who those entities were.
Pakistan’s representative said that China’s speaker had raised a valid point and urged care in that matter. Turning to a different subject, he said web-based connectivity varied around the world, and so the Committee should account for that in its consideration of Internet-channelled finance and information.
The representative of South Africa wondered how far one could reduce the complexity of the matrix. As it stood, the matrix presented a neat breakdown of the obligations contained in the resolution. He did think that adding a new column on standards governing international bodies would be worth considering. Moreover, aiming for universality of instruments used by the Committee might undermine the task of fulfilling resolution 1540. He also questioned the need to introduce a “time aspect”, since the uniqueness of each individual State meant it would be difficult to impose timelines.
The speaker from the United Kingdom returned to the issue of non-State entities, also known as “significant autonomous entities”, both at supra- and sub-national levels. While it was true that the 192 Member States formed the starting point for implementation of 1540, other entities also had a part to play. The United Kingdom itself oversaw semi-autonomous territories governed by legislative processes different from its own. Yet, the United Kingdom was responsible for their foreign policy and for ensuring that they met their international obligations. Nationally, it was conceivable that the United Kingdom Government could agree with those territories regarding how their differences would be represented in the matrix. It would then hold a dialogue with Committee on how it portrayed those differences, and indeed, a similar procedure was being followed in the Counter-Terrorism Committee. Similarly, as a European Union member, the United Kingdom would like to avoid double-counting of the measures it had taken. Since European Union directives tended to be incorporated into the law of individual member nations, perhaps that was the best way to account for them in the matrix.
The representative of the Russian Federation also offered a reaction to the issue of non-state entities, saying that the paragraph on supra- or sub-national entities went beyond the scope of resolution 1540. States were responsible for fulfilling the resolution, and questions should therefore be addressed to States alone. Should different kinds of entities be included in the matrix, the process risked becoming more bureaucratic. Political issues should not be a big part of the discussion on 1540.
In response, MR. ANDEMICAEL informed participants that while some “States” were not members of the United Nations, some of them had expressed an interest to send reports.
Before the Chair concluded the meeting, the representative of the Russian Federation read aloud from a discussion paper published by his Government.
In it, the Russian Federation asserts that resolution 1540 was geared at effective monitoring and control of weapons of mass destruction and their means of their delivery, with States being called on to develop laws and practices in that regard. Russia, as a co-sponsor of 1540, participated actively in implementing those resolutions. A later resolution, 1810, provides an opportunity for the international community to review implementation of 1540.
In that regard, the 1540 Committee should act as a clearinghouse to coordinate the efforts of Member States, he said. Its work should proceed in a more systematic way, and its procedures enhanced. The Committee’s internal structure should be optimized, and the quality of its documentation improved. Cooperation between the 1540 Committee with other Security Council bodies should be organized in such a way as to uphold its unique role as a non-proliferation body, but not a counter-terrorist unit. Cooperation with intergovernmental organizations should involve bodies such as IAEA, OPCW and others with expertise in relevant areas. Together with the 1540 Committee, they could establish a core group for providing development assistance.
He said regional organizations could also be helpful in ensuring implementation of 1540, particularly by providing political support to 1540 and working consistently with States parties to encourage them to implement the resolution’s provisions. Two separate categories of organizations could be clearly envisaged -- potential donors and those who received assistance. The modalities for interaction with the 1540 Committee would naturally be different for each. Regional organizations could help develop best practices in establishing export control regimes, but the effort should be confined to working with Governments at the national level. Ultimately, the main goal of all States was to arrive at an agreed approach to enhance international cooperation to implement 1540.
Also asking for the floor before the session’s close was the representative of Indonesia who sought more interaction between Security Council and non-member countries. He suggested that it would be important to introduce a method for studying separate paragraphs of the resolution in a systematic manner, as part of the comprehensive review. His particular concern was operative paragraph 7 of the resolution, which discussed assistance. That paragraph stated that the provision of assistance should not hamper international cooperation.
In his closing remarks, the Committee Chair, JORGE URBANA (Costa Rica), noted that broad participation in the events of the past three days had indicated strong support for multilateralism. He emphasized the importance of strengthening links with regional, subregional and international organizations specializing in the area of weapons of mass destruction controls. States must work to increase awareness of 1540’s significance, and towards improving national capacity to fulfil its provisions. That included improving export and border controls, strengthening customs procedures, and bolstering assistance to countries that needed help to implement 1540.
He pointed to a side event from yesterday in which non-governmental organizations and members of industry and academia had taken part. To implement 1540 successfully required the involvement of many actors besides States, and such sectors of the economy and society would do well to contribute more to the Committee’s work. Achieving the objectives of 1540 was a long-term process, and three-day events such as these “remind us of our responsibilities” and allowed States “to dream of new forms of progress”. Indeed, what was once seen as interference by the Security Council in domestic matters was now viewed as the coming together of States for a common cause.
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