Dozens of stakeholders explore avenues to support ASEAN States with implementing landmark resolution on preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors

March 20th, 2023

On 7 and 8 March 2023,over 60 international participants gathered in Tokyo, Japan to strengthen the implementation by Southeast Asian States of a landmark resolution on preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors. The regional meeting, hosted by the Government of Japan with the support of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the United Nations University (UNU), was aimed at enhancing cooperation between ASEAN States and other stakeholders in order to meet their obligations under UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 (2004).

UNSCR 1540 was adopted unanimously by the Security Council, under the United Nations Charter’s Chapter VII, in 2004. It obliges all States to refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors attempting to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery. The resolution also requires all States to establish domestic controls to prevent WMD proliferation and their means of delivery, including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials.

Regional meeting for stakeholders involved in supporting implementation of UNSCR 1540 (2004) in Asia

The two-day meeting began with a presentation by a 1540 Committee Expert on the main provisions of the resolution, followed by an overview of the Committee’s Assistance Matchmaking Mechanism, which is aimed at linking  requests with relevant offers of assistance.

Representatives from the ASEAN States then shared their main challenges and most pressing needs to enable the full and effective implementation of the resolution, while other participating States, international and regional organizations, and UN agencies responded by showcasing their offers of assistance to support those efforts. Such offers range from helping to update national legislation to supporting better procedures to account for and secure chemical, biological and nuclear materials. They also include training of border officers to identify sensitive items of proliferation concern to bolstering transit and transhipment controls.

By the end of the two days, all the participating stakeholders committed themselves to reinforce their collaboration for the purpose of improving the resolution’s implementation and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors, including terrorists, for a safer sub-region. Host Japan reaffirmed its steadfast commitment to the implementation of UNSCR 1540 (2004) and its readiness to cooperate with the international community in promoting disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.