New York

07 May 2014

Deputy Secretary-General's Remarks to open debate of the Security Council on non-proliferation (Implementation of Resolution 1540)

I commend the Republic of Korea for convening this open debate on Security Council Resolution 1540. 

Let me recognize that in its first ten years, this landmark resolution has accomplished a great deal. 

Resolution 1540 has helped us make important inroads against the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

The resolution has set in motion a great number of steps by Member States. Over 30,000 measures and actions by States implementing the resolution have been reported to the 1540 Committee. 

This of course only tells part of the story.  There have also been setbacks and disappointments, including the recent use of chemical weapons in Syria.  However, through vigorous diplomatic and administrative action, and by agreement, over 90 per cent of Syria’s chemical weapons have been removed even as the conflict has intensified.

Some 20 countries have not submitted a report on their implementation efforts to the 1540 Committee.  In most cases, these are countries facing serious economic or social difficulties.  I encourage all Member States that have not yet done so, to submit a first report in this anniversary year.

For Resolution 1540 to work even more effectively, it must be a global commitment and a global enterprise.

It is critical for every country to implement this resolution.  Terrorists and traffickers tend to target countries whose customs, borders, trade, ports and airports are less well or poorly monitored or controlled.

One promising trend is the preparation of voluntary national implementation action plans.  At the recent Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, 32 countries released a joint statement reaffirming a commitment to submit such action plans to the 1540 Committee. 

Looking ahead, we hope to see expanded regional cooperation in implementing the resolution, especially since States sharing borders often face similar challenges.

Civil society also has a major role to play in moving the world closer to meeting the goals of resolution 1540. By that joint effort we come closer to a more ambitious vision: a world free of all weapons of mass destruction.

Supporting resolution 1540 is a high priority for the United Nations and a key task for the Office for Disarmament Affairs.  We all share an interest and duty to prevent individuals and non-state groups from acquiring and using these in abhorrent weapons. 

The effective implementation of this resolution requires a wide scope of measures ranging from legislation to law enforcement. It requires action not only by governments but also by industry and other relevant actors.  In this year of its 10th anniversary, I appeal to all States and other stakeholders to continue their efforts to implement this resolution. 

As the Secretary-General has said many times, there are “no right hands for wrong weapons”.  Let us join together in the work against their proliferation with renewed resolve, to ensure a world of greater peace and security in the years to come.

Thank you.