The Government of Bolivia, in cooperation with the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) and its Group of Experts, hosted a regional conference on non-proliferation for the States of Latin America and the Caribbean, in La Paz from 7 to 8 November.
Convened under the theme “Seizing the opportunities, reducing the risks”, the Conference was supported by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), with financial contributions from the Governments of Norway and Spain through the United Nations Trust Fund for Global and Regional Disarmament Activities.
Opening with a welcome address by María del Carmen Almendras, Bolivia’s Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Conference also heard an opening statement by Sacha Llorentty Solíz, Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the United Nations and Chair of the 1540 Committee.
The Conference provided an opportunity for participants to exchange views and effective practices for preventing the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, focusing on the handling of related materials, with a view to strengthening the region’s implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). Participants included national 1540 points of contact and officials from the following 19 Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Russian Federation and Venezuela.
The Conference also provided the opportunity for nine international and regional organizations to highlight their technical recommendations for handling biological, chemical and nuclear materials safely and securely, and to share information about their activities to assist Member States. The following organizations participated in the Conference: Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Organization of American States (OAS), UNLIREC, World Customs Organization (WCO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Adopted unanimously by the Security Council on 28 April 2004 under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, resolution 1540 (2004) 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. It requires all States to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery to non-State actors, including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials.