In April 2004, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1540, establishing for the legally binding obligations on all States (under Chapter VII of the UN Charter) designed to counter nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and their means of delivery. UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540) obligates all States to make and enforce effective measures that, if implemented successfully, will significantly strengthen international efforts to prevent terrorists or other criminals from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. All states have three primary obligations under UNSCR 1540, to
1) prohibit support to non-state actors seeking WMD and their means of delivery,
2) adopt and enforce effective laws prohibiting activities involving the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery to non-state actors, and
3) adopt and enforce effective measures to reduce the vulnerability of many legitimate activities to misuse in ways that would foster the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery to non-state actors.
UNSCR 1540 established a Security Council Committee that reports to the UN Security Council on the implementation of the resolution. The Committee serves as an international information and assistance clearinghouse. By working in an open and transparent way, the Committee helps States in meeting their obligations and ensures that existing assistance programs have the most widespread availability.
In addition to working towards meeting U.S. domestic obligations under UNSCR 1540, the United States supports implementation efforts in other countries through a variety of mechanisms, including providing funding and expertise. The Department of State’s 1540 Coordinator within the Department’s Office of Counterproliferation Initiatives, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, works as a focal point for U.S. government activities supporting implementation of resolution 1540.
For more information on current efforts to implement UNSCR 1540 worldwide, please contact U.S. 1540 Coordinator Richard T. Cupitt at (202) 736-4275 or CupittRT@state.gov.