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Diplomacy in Action

Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540: Providing Assistance

Fact Sheet
Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
November 9, 2011


The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540) in 2004, creating a Committee to oversee efforts to assist States in their nonproliferation obligations with regard to non-state actors. In 2011, the Security Council reaffirmed the Committee’s mandate by passing Resolution 1977. UNSCR 1540 requires States to take measures to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems, to non-state actors. While UNSCR 1540 is legally binding on all Member States, full implementation has not yet been achieved. Several States lack the capacity to implement the resolution’s requirements, and need assistance. The United States is pleased to be a partner in such assistance. Programs are in place to help countries develop their abilities to combat illicit trafficking in WMD and related materials. Others sources of assistance include national governments, organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, regional organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe, the Organization of American States, and non-governmental organizations.

Procedures for Requesting Assistance
The Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 facilitates requests for assistance and matches States in need of assistance with those who can provide help. The Committee has developed a template that States can use to submit assistance requests, available at States can also make requests via traditional diplomatic communication such as a note verbale to the Committee, or simply by letter. Serving as a clearing house, the Committee reviews requests and distributes them to organizations or States offering assistance.

How Are Requests for Assistance Met?
The Committee notifies partner countries of assistance requests. Recently, the Committee conveyed requests from a group of African states, the Central American Integration System, and Iraq. The Group of Eight Global Partnership is reviewing 37 requests for assistance. The United States provided the Committee with responses to these and other requests via notes verbales in August and December 2010, and October 2011.

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