With the support of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the Republic of Cameroon convened a national workshop to renew efforts to implement UN Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). The resolution requires States to refrain from providing any form of support to non-state actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, posses, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery. The workshop, which was held from 12 to 14 September in Yaoundé, brought together nearly 60 participants from 35 ministries and agencies in charge of security, external relations, trade, mining, customs, health, agriculture, finance, science and technology, gender, and youth.
Also participating in the workshop were representatives from the 1540 Committee Group of Experts, the Implementation Support Unit of the Biological Weapons Convention, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Customs Organization (WCO) and Interpol Regional Bureau for Central Africa. Through a series of informational presentations and panel discussions, the participants acquired a deeper understanding of the objective and scope of resolution 1540 and its relevance to the evolving security landscape in the region. Furthermore, and based on information complied in Cameroon’s 1540 Matrix and presentations made by the national authorities, the participants reviewed the implementation progress made to date, particularly with regards to the adoption and enforcement of laws and regulations to ensure the secure production, use and transfer of nuclear, chemical and biological materials. Markedly, it was noted that measures recorded in Cameroon’s matrix have increased by nearly 32%, signalling significant progress between 2015 and 2020.
Staff of Centre Pasteur du Cameroun explains to participations the biosafety and biosecurity measures in place at the facility
Subsequently, the participants discussed in working groups the concrete steps and actions required by the different institutions to advance implementation and address the identified gaps in legislation, enforcement measures, institutional capacities and inter-agency coordination. The participants also conferred with the participating international organizations to identify areas for assistance and cooperation. The resulting three-year voluntary national implementation action plan on resolution 1540 will be adopted and launched in due course. Following the workshop, participants were given a tour of the National Public Health Laboratory of Cameroon and the Centre Pasteur du Cameroun. The administrators briefed the participants on the functions of the facilities and the biosafety and biosecurity practices in place. The site visits allowed participants to gain a practical understanding of the domestic controls required by resolution 1540.
The workshop was made possible by contribution from France and the United States of America to the UN Trust Fund for Regional and Global Disarmament Activities.
For more information, please contact UNODA 1540 Support Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.