Ten years ago this week, the United States co-sponsored and the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1540. This seminal resolution legally binds all states to take a wide range of measures to combat the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and their means of delivery, especially to terrorists and other non-state actors. Since then, the resolution has had a profoundly positive impact in reducing the vulnerability this threat posed to international peace and security.
Dozens of countries, including the United States, have adopted or adapted laws, regulations, policies, and programs to comply with the more than two hundred individual obligations of the resolution, while more than forty international, regional, and sub-regional organizations have incorporated elements of the resolution into their mandates and work programs, such as the G8 Leaders’ 2011 decision to expand the mandate of the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction to include implementation of the resolution.
The United States remains resolute in its support for full implementation of the resolution. As shown in its most recent report to the 1540 Committee, the United States meets or exceeds international standards in implementing its obligations under the resolution. It also has an expansive range of programs to help other States implement the resolution.
Despite this good news, much work remains. Many States, for example, need to take still more steps to secure related materials, control sensitive exports, or prevent the financing of proliferation. Even where States have taken actions, they must remain cognizant of the emergence of new technologies or changes in the international community that terrorists and other criminals might abuse to acquire nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. Recognizing this challenge, President Obama has fostered several initiatives, such as advancing the Global Health Security Agenda, which seeks to accelerate the capacity of States to prevent, detect and respond to biological threats, and initiating the Nuclear Security Summit process, which strengthens the development of a comprehensive nuclear security architecture. The United States reiterates its support for full implementation of the resolution, including the work of the 1540 Committee.
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