In April 2004, the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted resolution 1540, which obligates all States to institute domestic legal-regulatory measures and controls to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their means of delivery, and related materials to non-State actors. By obliging states to prevent the unregulated transfer of WMD-related materials and dual-use goods and know-how to and by actors ranging from unwitting private sector companies and individuals to criminal organizations and terrorists, UNSCR 1540 augments the international framework of nonproliferation treaties, conventions, and protocols to help prevent the spread and use of the world’s most dangerous weapons
UN Security Council 1540 Committee
Resolution 1540 created a Committee of the Security Council, commonly referred to as the 1540 Committee, to monitor and support States in their efforts to implement the resolution. The UN Security Council has extended the 1540 Committee’s mandate UNSC resolutions 1673 (2006), 1810 (2008), 1977 (2011), and 2663 (2022). The current mandate of the 1540 Committee runs through November 2032.
The 1540 Committee monitors and compiles information about each State’s implementation efforts, which it posts on the Committee website. Despite marked progress, the Committee’s reports, reviews, and briefings to date continue to show that substantial gaps remain in States’ nonproliferation-related legal-regulatory frameworks. To close these gaps, and to help States continually adjust their efforts to evolving proliferation risks and vulnerabilities, the Committee and its Group of Experts help to coordinate assistance, raise awareness, identify effective practices, and otherwise facilitate implementation of the resolution.
Resolution 2663 (2022)
On November 30, 2022, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2663 to extend the 1540 Committee’s mandate by another ten years. In addition, UNSCR 2663 instructs the 1540 Committee to take measures to improve its assistance matchmaking function, facilitate access to technical guides and other implementation resources, and increase its engagement with UN Member States, regional and international organizations, and civil society. It also calls upon the 1540 Committee to give due consideration to the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in all its activities.
Implementing UNSCR 1540 at Home
Like all UN Member States, the United States has two primary and ongoing responsibilities in implementing UNSCR 1540. First, the U.S. government must coordinate its own activities to ensure that its laws and regulations meet the requirements of the resolution, helping to keep sensitive materials out of the hands of terrorists and other criminals while preserving legitimate commercial and peaceful uses of related goods and know-how. The United States regularly reports measures in place to implement UNSCR 1540 and has identified more than 100 effective practices and shared them with the 1540 Committee.
Second, the United States helps other States implement their 1540 obligations through bilateral cooperation and assistance partnerships and through U.S. support to or work in international, regional, and sub-regional bodies, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, and the Organization of American States.
Helping to Implement UNSCR 1540 Abroad
The United States supports global UNSCR 1540 implementation bilaterally with other UN Member States and in cooperation with international, regional, or sub-regional bodies and civil society. In addition, the United States works with the 1540 Committee and the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) to encourage contributions to UNODA’s Trust Fund for Global and Regional Disarmament Activities, which supports projects specifically designed to promote UNSCR 1540 implementation. The United States has contributed approximately $5.4 million to this trust fund between 2019-2023. Among other projects and along with other donors, these funds support the work of Regional 1540 Coordinators for Africa and Asia.
For additional information on the resolution and U.S. activities to support its implementation, see the U.S. State Department [2 MB].