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Arms Control and International Security: Assistance and Partnering Opportunities to Implement Resolution 1540

Ambassador Bonnie D. Jenkins
Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs 
Warsaw, Poland
July 13, 2012

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United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 provides an important part of the international legal foundation and direction for all nations to play a role in the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It also provides a mechanism whereby nations that need assistance to fulfill their 1540 obligations can seek such assistance, and for other nations with the ability to do so to provide the assistance requested. This process of matching assistance requests under 1540 with funding promotes the ability of 1540 to address today’s WMD threat.

However, meeting the assistance needs is not an automatic process. Other mechanisms in addition to UNSCR 1540 itself are needed to help promote 1540 assistance requests and that 1540 implementation assistance, both bilateral and multilateral, is partnered with the right entities to efficiently implement the resolution.

In the view of the United States, it is important to use the momentum established by the extension of the 1540 Committee mandate in 2011 and the outcome of the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul to reenergize activities aimed at achieving full implementation. We want to enhance awareness worldwide about the importance of UNSCR 1540 and remind countries that 1540 is a vital part of the global nonproliferation architecture; focus countries on the benefits that 1540 has to their respective national security; and work to improve how implementation is being pursued both nationally and through regional and international organizations.

The decision in April 2011 to extend the mandate of the 1540 Committee for ten years marked a seminal moment in these efforts. Extending the Committee mandate was absolutely the right step, as it allows all countries to focus their respective and collective energy on the real task of achieving full implementation. Momentum in support of 1540 implementation continues to build. 1540 is a consistently recognized part of the global WMD nonproliferation architecture, and it stands as a unique mechanism to strengthen international security. The extension also signals the Council’s recognition that full implementation requires a long-term commitment. Strategies must be developed that will continue the momentum already realized, and that will promote the capacity – and political commitment – needed to attain full implementation by all countries.

Actions to implement 1540 can simultaneously strengthen border, port, and aviation management and security, improve mechanisms to prevent illicit trafficking, fortify public health protections, and contribute in other ways to improving overall security. In this respect, partnerships and mechanisms that can promote implementation of UNSCR 1540 not only promote adherence by all nations to 1540 WMD-related obligations but more importantly, promotes the overall and important goal of a safer and more secure world.

One such area of partnerships includes partnering with states willing to host events and activities to promote 1540. One of the biggest challenges to the implementation of the 1540 commitments is the fact that many nations do not have either an understanding of the 1540 obligations or the capacity to fulfill those obligations. When states take it upon themselves to host events and engage in other efforts to promote 1540, those states help with the global implementation of this important resolution. These types of national efforts are a great partnership with 1540.

In this respect, I would like to congratulate Poland on hosting this event. In addition to Poland, other nations have hosted or sponsored 1540 or 1540-relevant conferences. These include Russia, Norway, Tajikistan, the U.S., Colombia, Serbia, Ethiopia, Romania, U.A.E., Indonesia, Kenya, Austria, France, Panama, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and Malta.

In addition to such national efforts to promote 1540, there are increasing regional approaches in the field of WMD nonproliferation and combating WMD terrorism. Regional mechanisms provide opportunities to raise awareness in many states simultaneously of 1540 obligations, and take account of the fact that many threats are regional. By addressing threats regionally, there also can be a reduction in the opportunities for proliferators and terrorists to look for a weak link within a region to accomplish their proliferation goals.

By developing partnerships with organizations such as the African Union, the Organization of American States, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the League of Arab States, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a more efficient process of building capacity, developing best practices, and sharing information can be realized. To date, regional organizations have sponsored or hosted several 1540 conferences, and produced materials and information useful to aid other regions in 1540 implementation activities. The United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) has also organized or sponsored regional meetings since 2006 in such places as Australia, Argentina, China, Kazakhstan, Ghana, Peru, Jamaica, Jordan, Botswana, Qatar, Sri Lanka, and Costa Rica. The United States strongly supports regional and sub-regional efforts.

Here we congratulate the OSCE for the substantial progress it has made on 1540 implementation, and the OSCE should be encouraged to share its best practices with other countries and regions working to implement UNSCR 1540. The success of the OSCE’s 1540 implementation efforts is the result of having established a 1540 Project Team to guide and manage implementation efforts, which has been instrumental in coordinating OSCE efforts, raising awareness, and exploring and implementing concrete proposals for ways the OSCE can facilitate 1540 implementation – to include assisting OSCE participating States to develop national action plans. We should encourage the OSCE to continue to support the 1540 Project Team, and continue implementing strong regional 1540 efforts.

In addition to hosting regional conferences, another vehicle to promote partnerships and promote assistance in 1540 is through the use of regional coordinators. Currently, there are 1540 regional coordinators working to promote 1540 awareness and the fulfillment of 1540 obligations in the Caribbean, in Europe through the OSCE, and in Central America. Having a dedicated individual or office to promote 1540 through these regional coordinators is another way to get as much bang as possible from the buck.

There are also ways to partner through multilateral initiatives. One such avenue is through the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (GP), which is a vehicle that can promote assistance under the 1540 mandate. This initiative of 24 members, which many of you are familiar with, began in 2002 and is a vehicle to provide assistance in funding and in kind to combat WMD proliferation and terrorism. In this respect, the partners are directly addressing many of the existing 1540 requests for assistance and can continue to help meet the requests for assistance made to the 1540 Committee. In fact, in 2011, the leaders at the G8 Summit agreed that the GP would focus on four key areas: nuclear and radiological security, bio-security, scientist engagement, and implementation of UNSCR 1540. As such, the GP already is mandated to support the 1540 Committee in implementing the resolution because all four key areas are covered under the 1540 mandate. In this respect, all GP programs can be viewed as 1540-related programs.

The GP, which among other things is a funding mechanism that also promotes the coordination of activities, has been very engaged with the 1540 Committee in an effort to find ways to provide assistance to requests made by countries through the 1540 mechanism.

A number of other international organizations are also able to provide assistance to promote 1540 fulfillment and thereby are partners with 1540 efforts, providing assistance to help countries meet their 1540 obligations. These include the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the Biological Toxin and Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit (BWC-ISU). As these organizations are engaged in the work of their own mandates, they also promote 1540 goals and obligations, such as in the case of the UNODC, which is dedicated to promoting universal adherence to relevant treaties and conventions, and the IAEA, which promotes the goals of nuclear and radiological security.

Additionally, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGO) such as think tanks also partner with 1540 to promote 1540 goals and obligations. One is the Stimson Center, which has been able to work with the U.S. and other governments to promote 1540 in various regions, including Africa and Latin America. It provides assistance in capacity building and awareness-raising concerning 1540 obligations. This is a good partnership with the 1540 committee and with various governments, which helps provide more synergy in the promotion of 1540 in different regions. Other important NGOs in this area include the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and funders like the MacArthur Foundation.

Another important partnership is with the Nuclear Security Summit. The NSS participants made clear in the communiqués of both 2010 and in 2012 the important role played by 1540 in the area of securing nuclear material and in the larger effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years. This past March, for example, the declaration from the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul reinforced the goal of full implementation of UNSCR 1540. That Summit recognized in particular the importance of efforts to strengthen nuclear security and prevent the possibility of nuclear materials or weapons finding their way into terrorist hands. The United States will be pressing between now and the next Nuclear Security Summit in 2014 to close the remaining gaps in how 1540 is being implemented globally and to support activities that make a contribution to this end. We would like to see a concerted effort internationally, particularly on the nuclear security aspects of 1540, as we look toward the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands.

Finally, assistance and partnering on 1540 implementation must recognize the critical role of the 1540 Committee and UNODA. The Committee, particularly its experts, can offer extensive input on implementation activities, and UNODA plays a critical role in organizing and supporting implementation activities around the globe. When speaking of assistance, strengthening UNODA’s ability to support implementation activities cannot be overemphasized. In this respect, the United States gave a grant of USD 3 million to the UN Trust Fund for Global and Regional Disarmament – a fund used to UNODA to support 1540 Committee activities – and plans to make an additional grant this year. This type of contribution is one other nations should consider, because by providing the Committee with such funding, the Committee will be able to better promote its work, provide needed support, and engage a broad range of countries in fulfilling their 1540 commitments.

So, as I have outlined, there are many existing partnerships with 1540 that promote fulfilling its obligations in many aspects. We should continue to find ways to work closely with the 1540 committee to build and strengthen partnerships. Promoting 1540 is promoting international peace and security, which is something we all have a stake in enhancing. Thank you.

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