1540 Committee (Non-Proliferation) - Security Council VTC Briefing

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30-Mar-2021 01:16:33
Implementing non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons resolution ‘long-term’ task requiring effort at all levels, 1540 Committee Chair tells Security Council.

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The Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), which supports States in preventing non-State actors — including terrorists — from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, provided a briefing to the Security Council during a videoconference meeting today, describing the successful completion of the body’s ongoing comprehensive review process as its top priority.

Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez (Mexico), addressing the 15-member organ in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), said States have made significant progress in implementing that critical resolution. However, some gaps remain, he said, describing the text’s full and effective implementation as a long-term task requiring continuous efforts at the national, regional and international levels.

Outlining the 1540 Committee’s recent work, he noted that, owing to travel and other COVID-19-related restrictions imposed in 2020, members took various precautionary measures and conducted its work largely by virtual means. The Committee held one in-person meeting and undertook no in-person visits to States, in contrast to 59 in-person events in 2019. It held 24 virtual informal consultations with Member States to discuss and clarify additional information they provided relevant to Committee matrices. Two virtual meetings were also held to discuss assistance requests, submitted to the Committee by Mongolia and Panama.

He said the Committee finalized its update and review of all matrix information in preparation for the comprehensive review of resolution 1540 (2004), which was initiated in 2019. In March 2020, the Committee sent draft updated matrices to all Member States, inviting comments and additional information on national implementation, so as to provide the body with a more accurate set of data. A total of 66 Member States responded to the invitation, of which 56 provided substantive comments and additional information. In December, it finalized its review of 193 Committee matrices and published updated matrices on its website, in respect of 190 Member States with their consent.

To date, he said, 184 countries have submitted initial reports providing the Committee with information on the measures they have taken, or plan to take, to comply with their obligations under resolution 1540 (2004). Spotlighting one critical activity, he said the Committee helps States develop voluntary national implementation action plans, as encouraged by resolution 2325 (2016). Those help to identify actions to close any gaps and vulnerabilities in regulations and national control frameworks, foster inter-agency cooperation and identify areas where assistance may be required. In 2020, Colombia and the Dominican Republic submitted their second action plans, and the number of States that have submitted such plans to the Committee since 2007 now stands at 35.

Describing other recent developments, he noted that countries are increasingly conducting peer reviews on the resolution’s implementation. In 2020, the Committee received reports from the Dominican Republic and Panama, and from Paraguay and Uruguay, respectively, on the outcome of two peer reviews organized in 2019, with a view to sharing experiences and good practices in the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). To date, five peer reviews have been held globally, three of which were in the Latin American and Caribbean Group region. A total of 127 States have also shared a point of contact on the resolution’s implementation with the Committee, he said, adding that the Committee continues to use its website for public outreach.

Turning to the Committee’s comprehensive review of resolution 1540 (2004), prior to the renewal of its mandate in April, he described that process as an inclusive one that makes use of contributions by Member States. While the process has begun, the Committee decided in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that all remaining activities related to the review should be postponed until 2021, with the exception of the process then under way of revising the Committee matrices and any other activities that could be undertaken in an online format. Among the themes to be addressed in the review are the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) by Member States; the Committee’s role in facilitating assistance matchmaking; its collaboration with relevant international, regional and subregional organizations and other United Nations bodies; and outreach activities. A report on the comprehensive review will be submitted to the Security Council, he concluded.

As Council members took the floor, many voiced their staunch support for resolution 1540 (2004) as well as progressive strides being made by States around the world towards its full implementation. Many expressed concern about the evolving threats posed by non-State actors and terrorist groups, emphasizing that as they adapt to new realities and technologies so too must the responses of the international community. While speakers largely welcomed progress made by the Committee towards completing its comprehensive review, some voiced concern over delays imposed by the pandemic and asked the Council to take those into account as it works to renew the Committee’s mandate — and examines the timetable for its work — in the coming weeks.

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