From 7 until 11 August 2017, in cooperation with the United Nations Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), China hosted a training course in Xi’an for 1540 national Points of Contact in the Asia-Pacific region.
This is the second time the Government of China hosted a 1540 training course and overall the fourth training course of its kind. The first training course was held in Qingdao in September 2015, also for States in the Asia-Pacific region. That course was followed by training courses in 2016 in the Russian Federation, for the States of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and in Chile, for States of the Latin America and Caribbean region.
The course opened on 7 August 2017 with a welcome address by Mr. Shen Jian, Counsellor, Arms Control and Disarmament Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Shen welcomed participants and among other things he renewed China’s commitment in supporting the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), including in the Asia-Pacific region. The Committee Chair, Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz (Plurinational State of Bolivia) sent a video message during which he reminded the participants of “The potentially devastating effects of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons proliferating to non-State actors, including terrorists” …and that “…, no State is exempt from making every effort to prevent such proliferation from happening”. He also highlighted the cooperative nature of resolution 1540 (2004) to prevent non-State actors from gaining access to those weapons of mass destruction, and stressed that cooperation between States is essential to address the issue at a global level.
The course was conducted with instruction by members of the Committee’s Group of Experts and representatives of international and regional organizations, including the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The course focused on the obligations for States under resolution 1540 (2004) and issues related to current risks of the proliferation of nuclear chemical and biological weapons to non-State actors, as well as links with other relevant international non-proliferation and counter-terrorism instruments.
Participants included national Points of Contact and representatives from Afghanistan, Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.
The course was an excellent opportunity for 1540 Points of Contact from 17 States to deepen their understanding of resolution 1540 (2004) and to exchange their national implementation experiences with their peers.
Resolution 1540 (2004) was adopted unanimously by the Security Council, under the United Nations Charter’s Chapter VII, on 28 April 2004. It obliges all States to refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors attempting to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery. The resolution requires all States to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials.
Effective implementation requires constant attention. National Points of Contact play an important role in this regard as members of a “living network” that not only connects with the Committee and its supporting Group of Experts, but also with each other when it comes to the effective implementation of the obligations of resolution 1540 (2004). On 15 December 2016, the Security Council adopted unanimously resolution 2325 (2016) that reaffirms and reinforces the obligations of the resolution adopted 12 years earlier. In resolution 2325 (2016) the Security Council urged the Committee to continue to undertake initiatives to strengthen the capacity of such Points of Contact to assist in the implementation of the resolution, including through the continuation, on a regional basis, of the Committee’s Point of Contact Training Programme.