What's In Blue

Posted Wed 21 Apr 2021

Vote on 1540 Committee Mandate Renewal Resolution*

Tomorrow (22 April), the Security Council president (Viet Nam) is expected to announce the results of the written voting procedure on a draft resolution extending the mandate of the 1540 Committee until 28 February 2022. The current mandate of the 1540 Committee is set to expire on 25 April. Adopted in 2004, resolution 1540 aims to prevent non-state actors from obtaining access to weapons of mass destruction.

The chair of the 1540 Committee (Mexico) circulated an initial version of the draft resolution to Council members on 19 April. After passing silence today (21 April), the draft resolution was put in blue this afternoon. The 24-hour written voting procedure commenced today at 4 pm and is expected to conclude at 4 pm tomorrow (22 April).

The draft resolution in blue is a straightforward renewal of the mandate of the 1540 Committee and its group of experts, as set out most recently in resolution 1977 of 20 April 2011, which renewed the committee’s mandate for ten years. The Council opted for a straightforward renewal of the mandate to allow the committee to complete activities related to the comprehensive review of the implementation of resolution 1540.

In resolution 1977, the Council called for the committee to conduct two comprehensive reviews on the implementation of resolution 1540: one after five years and the other before the renewal of the committee’s mandate in 2021. In 2020, the committee was supposed to focus on activities related to the second comprehensive review and open consultations were planned for June 2020. Open consultations provide a forum for representatives of UN member states, international and regional organisations, and civil society to provide their views and practical ideas on the improvement of the implementation of resolution 1540. Due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee decided in August 2020 that all activities related to the comprehensive review, including the open consultations, would be postponed until 2021.

Council members are united in their support for the work and the mandate of the 1540 Committee. It appears that Council members prefer that the next renewal consider possible adjustments to the committee’s mandate, taking into account the results of the comprehensive review.

A complicating factor is that the open consultations need to take place to complete the comprehensive review process. Given the restrictions on in-person meetings at the UN Headquarters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been difficult for the committee to set a new date for this meeting. Most Council members agreed to extend the mandate for more than a year, as they wanted to give the 1540 committee sufficient time to complete the review. However, it seems that one Council member maintained that the committee’s mandate should be extended for a shorter period, until the end of this calendar year. The chair (Mexico) appears to have proposed an extension of the mandate until 28 February 2022 as a compromise solution, which appears to have been acceptable to Council members.


*Post-script: On 22 April, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2572, which extended, until 28 February 2022, the mandate of the 1540 Committee and its group of experts.

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