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Security Council Resolution 1540

On 28 April 2004, the Security Council passed resolution 1540 on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The beginnings of the resolution first appeared in an address to the General Assembly in 2003 by U.S. President George W. Bush, who declared that the United States would be seeking a resolution from the Security Council to criminalize the proliferation of WMD by non-state actors. In December, a draft resolution from the US circulated amongst the Permanent Five for months, as the five veto-wielding members of the Council debated amongst themselves before opening the debate up to the Elected Ten members (E10) or the public.

The resolution was intended to address the gaps in the current legal WMD regime, more specifically, to address the potential of WMD acquisition by non-state actors. The resolution calls upon all Member States to enact national legislation criminalizing the development, acquisition, manufacturing, possession, transport or transfer of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery by a non-state actor.

All Member States of the United Nations are obliged under this resolution to report to the Security Council subcommittee on 1540 ("the 1540 Committee") on their progress implementing this resolution.

On 17 April 2006, the Security Council passed resolution 1673, which extends the mandate of the 1540 Committee for two years and calls for the intensification of efforts to promote the full implementation of resolution 1540.

1540 Committee

The resolution established a sub-committee of the Council to function as the repository of the national reports on the implementation of the resolution. The Committee is also be charged with assistance with compiling the reports, bringing in experts and holding workshops and seminars to assist with other matters relating to the principles and goals of the resolution.

The Committee's website is part of the efforts to make the work of the Committee more transparent, and to encourage full implementation of the resolution by all Member States. On that site you can read all reports that have been submitted, as well as press releases and information on the Committee's open meetings.