The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA) supported Cambodian authorities in delivering an introductory workshop to advance the development of a Voluntary National Action Plan for the Implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) in the country’s capital, Phnom Penh.
This workshop was hosted by the General Secretariat of the National Authority for the Prohibition of Chemical, Nuclear, Biological and Radiological Weapons (NACW) of Cambodia pursuant to UNSCR 2663 (2002), which calls on States to prepare national implementation action plans, with the assistance of the 1540 Committee. The main goal for the three-day workshop was to map out Cambodia’s priorities and plans for implementing the key provisions of resolution 1540 (2004) and to subsequently submit these plans to the 1540 Committee.
The workshop was attended by over 60 national and international participants. National entities included the ministries and organisations that would jointly work towards effectively implementing resolution 1540 and will form part of the forthcoming Working Group responsible for inputting into and elaborating the plan. International attendees ranged from United Nations agencies and Committees, including ODA, the Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit (BWC-ISU), and a member of the 1540 Group of Experts, respectively. Other participants included: export control professionals, including from the EU Partner-to-Partner Programme (EU P2P), the U.S. Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS), the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) of Germany, representatives from the intergovernmental World Customs Organization (WCO) and partner States Lao PDR, the Philippines, Mongolia, and Japan, who sponsored the event, as well as civil society members, such as the Center for Information on Security Trade Control (CISTEC), and the Global Trade Security Consulting (GTSC) of Singapore. Some participants attended online, representing the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Pacific Forum.
The three-day event succeeded at bringing all stakeholders together to enrich their understanding of the key provisions and obligations of the landmark resolution 1540, as well as its synergies with other international non-proliferation instruments, such as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safeguards agreements (their additional protocols), and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM).
Following these preliminary sessions, Cambodia presented on its efforts to implement resolution 1540, including the relevant laws, regulations, and frameworks that have been put into place, and subsequently benefitted from presentations delivered by its neighbouring countries vis-à-vis their 1540 implementation challenges and best practices. National authorities then increased their awareness on 1540 Committee’s assistance matchmaking mechanism aimed at linking 1540-related “requests” for assistance by Member States with the “offers” made by other Member States and regional and international organizations. In line with discussions on 1540 requests and offers, the international community was given a platform to state their offers of support, which mostly focussed on bolstering the country’s border and export control regime within the context of resolution 1540. This was followed by an online presentation on the economic benefits of strategic trade management legislation.
On the final day, participants convened in thematic working groups, with the aim of identifying the needs, priorities, components and key targets of Cambodia’s future 1540 NAP and to come up with a realistic timeline for its eventual implementation. Each of the five groups were then invited to report back to the plenary session. The event concluded with a conversation on “next steps” and the need to conduct a follow-up workshop targeting all national ministries and entities to comprise the Working Group to elaborate Cambodia’s 1540 NAP. All future activities will be supported by ODA with funding from the Government of Japan.