December 2015 Monthly Forecast

Posted 25 November 2015
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Non-Proliferation (1540 Committee)

Expected Council Action

In December, the chair of the 1540 Committee, Ambassador Román Oyarzun (Spain), is scheduled to brief the Council on the work of the Committee, which deals with the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.    

Ahead of the briefing, the Committee will hold a retreat to discuss aspects of the comprehensive review of the implementation of resolution 1540 currently under way, as mandated by resolution 1977.  

Key Recent Developments

Oyarzun last briefed the Council on 16 June in a joint meeting with the chairs of the two other counter-terrorism related committees, the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee and the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee. The main focus of his briefing was the comprehensive review. He noted that the review aims to improve implementation of resolution 1540 by recommending practical actions and analysing the operation of the Committee with a view to recommending adjustments if necessary.  It would be organised along the Committee’s four main areas of work, namely  national implementation, assistance, cooperation with international organisations and transparency and outreach.

In a press statement on the comprehensive review following the briefing, Council members welcomed the chair’s presentation of the review process, noting that it started on 28 April when the modalities were formally approved by the Committee, and must be completed before 30 November 2016. They invited all member states, relevant international organisations and civil society representatives to engage actively in the process and announced the holding of formal open consultations in New York in the summer of 2016.

The Committee held meetings on 2 and 18 September. At the 18 September meeting, Oyarzun highlighted the goal of achieving universal reporting and said he had engaged in bilateral consultations with most of the remaining 18 non-reporting states. There was also an informal meeting that same day with the chair of the missile technology control regime, a group of 34 countries seeking to coordinate national export licensing efforts aimed at preventing the proliferation of missile delivery systems. 

On 26 October, Zambia submitted its first national implementation report to the Committee, thus bringing the number of non-reporting states down to 17. 

The Committee and its chair participated in several major outreach events. On 11 September, China hosted the first-ever training course for national points of contact for the implementation of resolution 1540 in the Asia-Pacific region. From 27 to 29 October, Morocco and Spain conducted a joint maritime exercise aimed at strengthening national capabilities in securing radioactive material in transport in line with resolution 1540, with the support of the IAEA and participation of observers from more than 20 countries. From 19 to 20 November, Germany organised a two-day conference in Wiesbaden with industry representatives to discuss their role in enhancing implementation of resolution 1540. It was the fourth of a series of conferences hosted by Germany. 

Council Dynamics 

While the 1540 resolution was initially somewhat controversial, it now enjoys the general support of Council members as well as the wider UN membership. It seems, however, that the timing and appropriate format for the chair’s briefing have been subject to discussion. While the Council, until recently, would regularly hold semi-annual joint briefings with the chairs of the three counter-terrorism committees, there now appears to be less interest in having such joint briefings, due to the growing number of other Council meetings relating to the work of the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee and the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee. No joint briefing was therefore included in the Council’s programme of work for either November or December, which would normally have been the case given that the last such briefing was in June. It seems, however, that Spain felt it was important for the Council to consider the work of the 1540 Committee before the end of the year and insisted on having a separate briefing added to the programme of work.  In a 2005 presidential statement on the counter-terrorism committee briefings, the Council asked the three committees to report to the Council “at regular intervals” and “if appropriate, in a coordinated manner.” Nothing therefore dictates that these briefings have to happen jointly or on a semi-annual basis.  

UN DOCUMENTS ON THE 1540 COMMITTEE

Security Council Resolution
20 April 2011 S/RES/1977 This resolution renewed the mandate of the 1540 committee for 10 years. The committee was requested to conduct a comprehensive review of the status of implementation of resolution 1540 and recommend any necessary adjustments to its mandate every five years. The committee was also asked to consider by 31 August the feasibility of a coordination and leadership post for the group of experts, as well as the expertise and broad geographical representation required for the group of experts. In addition, the Council decided that the committee should submit an annual programme of work to the Council before the end of each May, with the next due by 31 May 2011.
Security Council Presidential Statement
20 July 2005 S/PRST/2005/34 This statement encouraged relevant organisations to provide assistance.
Security Council Meeting Record
16 June 2015 S/PV.7463 This was the semi-annual joint briefing by the chairs of its three counter-terrorism-related committees.
Security Council Press Statement
16 June 2015 SC/11929 This was a press statement on the comprehensive review of the implementation of resolution 1540, Council members welcomed the 1540 Committee’s process for the comprehensive review.