Countering the Proliferation and Illicit trafficking of Dual-Use Materials in Botswana

June 5th, 2024

In 2022, the Republic of Botswana adopted a voluntary national implementation action plan on United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). The plan’s overall objective is to advance the implementation of resolution 1540, including strengthening export and border controls.

Resolution 1540 requires States to establish effective border controls and law enforcement measures to detect, deter, prevent and combat the illicit trafficking of materials related to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery. Such measures also cover controls over export, re-export, transit and trans-shipment activities, as well as controls over the provision of funds and services for such activities. These measures constitute an integral element of the resolution and are outlined in Operative Paragraph 3 (c) and (d).

Botswana implemented several measures to prevent illicit trafficking in dual-use nuclear, chemical and biological materials. These measures are given effect by the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Act (2018), the Chemical Weapons Prohibition Act (2018) Biological and Toxin Weapons (Prohibition) Act (2018), the Counter-Terrorism Act (2014), the Financial Intelligence Act (2009), the Radiation Protection Act (2006), among others. With the adoption of the national action plan, Botswana seeks to bolster these measures, particularly through adopting a national control list of dual-use items and developing the required enforcement measures and capacities.

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and Botswana have been working together since 2021 and co-organized virtual workshops to develop and validate the national action plan on resolution 1540. In continuation of this partnership, a national workshop under the title Strengthening Export and Border Controls in Botswana in Compliance with Resolution 1540 was held from 21 to 23 May 2024 in Gaborone.

Participants gather for a group photograph.

The workshop was led by the Chemical, Biological, Nuclear and Radiological Weapons Management Authority of Botswana (CBNRWMA) and gathered 26 officials from 18 government institutions from the sectors of trade and industry, health, agriculture, environment, science and technology, customs, internal security and defence. Representatives of Botswana’s industry and private Sector also attended the workshop.

Left to right: Director and Deputy Director of the Chemical, Biological, Nuclear and Radiological Weapons Management Authority of Botswana, Mr. Thapelo Otukile and Dr. Janes Mokgadi

The national stakeholders shared information and mapped the full scope of institutions with a regulatory or policy-setting role with respect to the cross-border transfer of nuclear, chemical and biological materials. They also identified dual-use items controlled by current laws and regulations, and mapped related legal, regulatory and enforcement gaps.

Several organizations and entities participated in the workshop, namely the 1540 Committee, the Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit (BWC-ISU), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the European Union Partner-to-Partner Export Control Programme, the Stimson Center and VERTIC. UNODA and subject-matter experts from these entities provided the national stakeholders with a comprehensive understanding of the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation instruments and the obligations arising from them. National stakeholders were also exposed to case studies, good practices and implementation tools available to States.

Participants follow the workshop presentations.

A key feature of the workshop was the sharing of experiences and lessons learned by partner States. Representatives from the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) and the South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction shared detailed information on their respective export control systems, including the laws in place, interagency cooperation mechanisms, processes of maintaining and updating national control lists, and their approaches to enforcement, including capacity building and technical reach-back capabilities.

Left to right: Mr. Nico Sauter, Project Manager at the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) and Dr. Matome Mookodi, Director of Scientific Support at the Secretariat of the South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The interactive discussions with the subject-matter experts and the group exercises increased the participants’ level of engagement and their appreciation for the whole-of-government approach required for effective and efficient border and export controls in line with resolution 1540 and multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation instruments.

UNODA will leverage its partnerships with international partners and specialized entities to provide Botswana with the support needed to implement the actions and targets set by the national stakeholders at the workshop in a timely manner.

The workshop was supported by the UN Trust Fund for Regional and Global Disarmament Activities with contributions from the United States of America and the European Union. For more information, please contact UNODA 1540 Support Unit at