UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)

The Role of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) in support of the Committee established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)

In resolution 1540 (2004), the Security Council decided that all States shall refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, in particular for terrorist purposes. The resolution requires all States to adopt and enforce appropriate laws to this effect as well as other effective measures to prevent the proliferation of these weapons and their means of delivery to non-State actors, in particular for terrorist purposes.

A Security Council Committee was established pursuant to resolution 1540 (1540 Committee), which is tasked to report to the Security Council on the implementation of the resolution. On 30 November 2022, the Security Council, unanimously adopted resolution 2663 (2022). In doing so, the Council extended the mandate of its subsidiary 1540 Committee, for a period of ten years until 30 November 2032.

Secretary General’s press statement on the 10th anniversary of United Nations Security Council resolution 1540

The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs provides support for activities of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004). Currently, UNODA activities are focused on the following key areas:

  • Facilitation of national implementation activities including through regionally coordinated approaches
  • Cooperation between international, regional and sub-regional organizations
  • Effective partnerships of key stakeholders including civil society, private sector and academia

Facilitation of National Implementation Activities including through Regionally Coordinated Approaches

In cooperation with the 1540 Committee and relevant regional and subregional organizations, UNODA assists Member States in their efforts to fully implement the key requirements of resolution 1540 (2004), including the preparation of voluntary national implementation plans, the conduct of 1540 Peer Reviews and identification of effective implementation practices. Furthermore, UNODA supports capacity building of government officials to effectively implement the obligations under the resolution. In this regard, UNODA has launched an online training course on resolution 1540 (2004) on its Disarmament Education Dashboard.[1]

As regionally coordinated approaches have proven to be one of the most efficient means of bolstering national implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), UNODA strongly supports regional cooperation through its regional centers and its 1540 regional coordinators in Africa and Asia. UNODA also facilitates regional cooperation by partnering with relevant regional and sub-regional organizations including the African Union, ASEAN, the League of Arab States, the Organization for American States and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Cooperation between International, Regional and Sub-regional Organizations (IROs)

The 1540 Committee is tasked to engage with relevant international, regional and subregional organizations to share experiences and lessons learned in the areas covered by the resolution. UNODA actively promotes the cooperation between relevant IROs and entities, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, Organization of American States, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, World Customs Organization and the World Health Organization, in support of the practical implementation of the resolution by their respective Member States. This cooperation includes UNODA’s initiatives to facilitate interaction between interested IROs, in particular between their respective Secretariats, and as appropriate, increased cooperation.

Effective Partnerships with Civil Society

Civil society and the private sector can make important contributions to the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). UNODA actively promotes partnerships with civil society, the private sector and industry to support national and international efforts to meet the objectives of the resolution. UNODA in cooperation with Germany convened the first Conference of International, Regional, and Sub-Regional Industry Associations on UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) in 2012, which involved the participation of industry associations and private companies from the nuclear, chemical, biological, finance, transport and aerospace sectors.

In January 2013, UNODA in cooperation with Austria held the first Civil Society Forum on resolution 1540 (2004). The Forum assembled 45 civil society organizations, which reflected a broad geographical diversity and included representatives from the Americas, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and Southern Africa.

One effective, cooperative relationship between ODA, the Center for International Trade & Security, School of Public & International Affairs, and the University of Georgia contributed to the publication of the 1540 Compass, which journals views, comments, and ideas for effective implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 to prevent WMD proliferation and terrorism by non-state actors.

Trust Fund for Global and Regional Disarmament Activities

In resolution 1977 (2011), the Security Council encouraged States that are able to do so to provide resources to the Office of Disarmament Affairs to assist States in implementing their obligations in respect to the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).

UNODA administers the Trust Fund for Global and Regional Disarmament Activities. In support of UNODA’s 1540 related activities, the Trust Fund has received relevant voluntary contributions from Andorra, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America as well as the European Union and the Carnegie Corporation.

UNODA’s continuing effective support for implementing resolution 1540 (2004) is only made possible through generous voluntary contributions, as encouraged by the Security Council. Member States may consider providing voluntary financial contributions to the Trust Fund to promote the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).

1 The training course can be accessed through UNODA’s Disarmament Education Dashboard at: https://www.disarmamenteducation.org.