Press Conference on Upcoming Comprehensive Review at Headquarters of Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)

29 September 2009

Press Conference on Upcoming Comprehensive Review at Headquarters of Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)

29 September 2009
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference on Upcoming Comprehensive Review at Headquarters

of Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)

A three-day open meeting taking place at Headquarters from 30 September would assess the evolution of risks and threats to implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004), which sought to prevent mass destruction weapons ‑‑ nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery -- from falling into the hands of non-State actors, correspondents were told today.

Speaking at a late-day press conference, Jorge Urbina ( Costa Rica), Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540, said the meeting was part of a comprehensive review of the resolution’s implementation.  It would address specific critical issues that had not yet been resolved and identify possible new approaches to implementation.  Member States and regional and subregional entities were invited to participate.  (For additional information, see Background Press Release SC/9752).

The event would offer Member States a forum to share experiences and express their views, he said.  The first of three meetings would be dedicated to a general debate, in which 35 Member States had already indicated their interest in participating.  The thematic discussions, to begin on Thursday afternoon, would be more interactive.  A group of eight experts supporting the Committee had prepared eight papers, six of which were public and would be discussed at the meetings.  The other two were private documents of the Committee.  The meeting would also feature a side event with the participation of nine non-governmental organizations.

The review would result in a final document, which was tentatively scheduled for release on 31 January 2010, although it was hoped that it could be presented before the end of the year and before Costa Rica’s present election to the Security Council expired, he added.

Joining the Ambassador was Berhanykum Andemicael, Coordinator of the Committee’s group of experts, who elaborated on the papers by the expert group, explaining that eight background papers had been prepared on eight themes for the comprehensive review.  The six papers in the public domain dealt with the impact of the implementation of the resolution; assessing measures analysing the state of implementation; and analysis of the regional approach, as the Committee sought to develop its relationship with regional and subregional organizations.  The papers also dealt with the tools used by the Committee, such as the matrix for examining information received from Member States and a template for requesting assistance to enable the Committee to match requests with offers of assistance.

He explained further that the papers had been prepared collectively focusing on a common understanding of the challenges and the options available to meet them. They did not offer conclusions or recommendations, but instead flagged issues and options the Committee could consider; they were “food for thought” for the comprehensive review.  The Committee would take stock of the reaction and response of Member States and international organizations in preparing its report to the Security Council.

Nikita Smidovich of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) said that the side event entitled “Resolution 1540 at the Crossroads” would take place on 1 October in Conference Room 2.  That event was sponsored by the Office for Disarmament Affairs and co-organized by nine organizations from around the world, including North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe.  The organizations were bringing their representatives to the meeting to make a contribution to the comprehensive review in the hope that their voices would be heard.

In response to a correspondent’s question, Mr. Urbina said that Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were not among the countries that had expressed interest in participating in the general debate.

He added that the decision to hold the press conference had nothing to do with the latest news out of Iran, but was meant simply to explain the planned activities to the members of the press.

Responding to additional questions on Iran, he said that the present concerns about developments in that country had nothing to do with the work of the Committee.  The Committee’s mandate was to do everything possible to avoid weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of non-State actors.  It did not deal with proliferation in the context of States, but aimed to assist Member States to adopt legislation and establish controls and procedures to avoid the possibility of acquisition by non-State actors. 

To another question, he said that the workshops organised by the Committee in four countries in June had been aimed at reviewing with experts from those countries the status of implementation and to offer assistance, including to match requests for assistance with offers from other Member States and international organizations.  It also sought to advise them on what could be done nationally, subregionally and regionally to implement the resolution.  The Committee dealt primarily with legislation, export controls and basic customs issues.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.