1 June 2022, New York – Statement by the European Union at the Open Consultations of the Comprehensive Review of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (31 May- 2 June)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
Let me start by congratulating you, Ambassador de la Fuente Ramírez and your team for organising these Open Consultations as a part of the Comprehensive Review on the status of Implementation of Resolution 1540. It is an essential step towards a meaningful and inclusive review process. I would also like to thank the members of the 1540 Committee and the Group of Experts for their work on the review.
Security Council Resolution 1540 is a central pillar of the international non-proliferation architecture, a key part of the global efforts to prevent the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, including to terrorists and other non-state actors.
The EU Member states are at the forefront of implementing the provisions of Resolution 150 in national legislation. However, the protection against proliferation of materials and know-how only works if it is executed and monitored across borders and sectors. That is why we work with partner countries to strengthen their capacity to adhere to the provisions of
Resolution 1540 and support the UN agencies in their work to promote understanding and compliance. Let me underline that the implementation of Resolution 1540 is not only about non-proliferation; it also encourages and strengthens a wide range of other goals: border control, trade and export control, environmental protection and public health. The unfolding of Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine has thrown a light on the broader relevance of
this regime and exposed the vulnerability of chemical, biological and nuclear facilities and the vital importance of ensuring control and monitoring.
We are encouraged to see that the Group of Experts has registered progress in implementing the provisions of Resolution 1540 in national legislation. With the voluntary cooperation and sharing of know-how and best practices promoted by the Group of Experts, the necessary frameworks and mechanisms to ensure enforcement are also established. We are and will remain strong supporters of this work.
The Comprehensive Review provides an important opportunity to take stock of the implementation of UNSCR 1540 and discuss how the regime can be adjusted: build on what is working and address new challenges.
An essential element of the 1540 regime is the 2011 decision to establish a Group of Experts. The nine group members have undertaken important work to monitor implementation and, just as importantly, support and assist member states in raising awareness, coordinating assistance,
and identifying and sharing best practices. The importance of the Group of Experts’ active outreach should be underlined and emphasised in the next mandate.
The development of new technologies to produce and deliver Weapons of Mass Destruction is moving quickly. To remain relevant and effective, the next mandate needs to reflect scientific advances in nuclear, chemical and biological research and related technological developments.
Also, the provisions to counter proliferation financing have to be strengthened as recommended by the Financial Actions Task Force.
Finally, the Women, Peace and Security agenda should also be considered in the new mandate. The Secretary-General’s “Agenda for Disarmament” points out that empowering women and ensuring their equal and meaningful participation in disarmament and arms control decision-making processes can lead to more inclusive, effective and sustainable policy outcomes.
The EU and its Member States will remain strong and active supporters of the full and universal implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540. The provisions of the Resolution are implemented through national legislation and, as a regional organisation based on tight trade
relations, the establishment of EU-wide regional preparedness against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security risks and security policy, emphasising cross-border and cross-sectoral cooperation. The aim is to ensure the legitimate commercial exchange and peaceful use of sensitive materials and technologies while keeping them safe from criminal and terrorist actors. Importantly, the EU helps others implement the 1540 obligations through bilateral cooperation and assistance partnerships and support to the UN and regional organisations.
Firstly, we currently provide a total of over 48 million USD in support of non-proliferation efforts globally through international organisations, most importantly UNODA, OSCE, IAEA, OPCW and OAS. The aim is notably to help partner countries develop relevant regulatory frameworks; improve the safety and security of their biological and chemical laboratories and to raise awareness of their scientists.
Secondly, the EU Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence Initiative provides significant assistance to mitigate risks from accidental, natural or criminal incidents in partner countries. This needs- and demand-driven initiative strengthens all-hazards security governance, both at national and regional levels. With a budget of almost 180 million USD in 2021-28, the CBRN Centres of Excellence supports capacity building through real-time, large-scale cross-border exercises with 62 countries.
Thirdly, the EU also helps States mitigate CBRN risks through the EU Partner-to-Partner Export Control Programme for Dual-Use Goods, which focuses on reducing the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by strengthening international cooperation in the field of dual-use trade controls and strengthening national and regional capacity.
Finally, the EU remains a strong supporter of the implementation of the conventions and regimes and initiatives related to non-proliferation and disarmament of Weapons of Mass Destruction, most importantly the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), UN Secretary General’s Mechanism for the investigation of alleged use of chemical and biological weapons (UNSGM), the Hague Code of Conduct as well as the Global Partnership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
The EU and its Member States will continue to actively contribute to the universal implementation of Resolution 1540 through national programmes and our expansive help and assistance to other countries, bilaterally and through international and regional organisations. The new mandate should strengthen what works best and adjust with a view to new challenges,
risks, and vulnerabilities to ensure that the 1540 regime remains a relevant and effective instrument.