8487th Security Council Meeting: Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

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19-Mar-2019 01:22:40
National action plans can help states prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, 1540 Committee chair tells Security Council at 8487th meeting.

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To keep terrorists from accessing nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, Governments can deploy a range of measures, such as devising national action plans, designating point persons and conducting peer reviews, speakers told the Security Council today as it considered non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Briefing members, Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), emphasized that significant progress has been made on implementation of that text. To date, 182 countries have submitted initial reports, an increasing number have conducted peer reviews and 105 have designated national points of contact in charge of coordinating implementation, he said, adding that one helpful step would be for States to develop voluntary national implementation action plans.

However, he cautioned, funding for the Committee’s group of experts is limited due to the prevailing financial challenges confronting the United Nations. For instance, contracts for its Panel of Experts were only issued for four months, he pointed out, emphasizing that, unless the situation is addressed, the Committee will face serious challenges in fulfilling its mandate before it expires in April 2021.

Council members agreed, with many expressing support for the Committee’s efforts and offering suggestions for further improvements. The representative of the United States called upon the Secretariat to ensure that the Committee and its Panel of Experts have the required resources to recruit the best personnel to ensure full implementation of the resolution. Noting that his country’s Government has provided more than $4 million to the 1540 Committee Trust Fund, he encouraged those States that have not yet done so to submit their initial reports without delay. As for the Council, he urged members to adapt national responses to changing threats and emerging technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles.

The United Kingdom’s delegate called on all States to ensure that their legislation is up to date and fit for purpose, especially for those acting as nexus points in the supply chain.

Poland’s representative said fulfilling obligations under resolution 1540 (2004) is not a one-time task. States must take steps to strengthen national capacities, including by adopting action plans, improving border management, countering terrorist narratives and engaging communities.

The Dominican Republic, for its part, has drawn up a national action plan, that country’s delegate said, adding that it will undertake a peer review with Panama on topics including national and international legislation, trade strategies, safe transport and risk management in emergencies.

Speakers also expressed concern about the looming threat of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and other terrorist groups acquiring weapons of mass destruction. South Africa’s representative pointed out that, given the existential threat posed by such weapons, including the risk of their use by non‑State actors, total elimination is the only guarantee that they will never be deployed by anyone. However, he cautioned, unwarranted restrictions should not be imposed on the inalienable right of Member States, particularly developing countries, to use any related materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes, he said, explaining that nuclear technologies can be used to enhance food security, improve health and generate clean energy.

The Russian Federation’s delegate, calling attention to the forthcoming comprehensive implementation review of resolution 1540 (2004), due in 2021, urged Member States and their partners to draft recommendations to underpin the Committee’s work. “Brainstorming will help to identify additional avenues for cooperation,” he added.

Also speaking today were representatives of Equatorial Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Peru, China, Kuwait, Germany, Belgium and France.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 11:29 a.m.

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