United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1540 (2004), which was unanimously adopted on 28 April 2004, obliges all states to refrain from providing any form of support to non-state actors attempting to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery.
The resolution also requires all states to adopt and enforce effective laws to prohibit the proliferation of such weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery by non-state actors, and to establish domestic controls to prevent WMD proliferation.
States are required to periodically draft reports on the progress they have made with regards to their obligations.
In 2011, the UNSC adopted resolution 1977, calling on all states that had not yet presented a first report on steps they have taken (or intend to take) to implement resolution 1540 (2004) to submit such a report to the 1540 Committee. Ambassador Oh Joon of the Republic of Korea, Chair of the 1540 Committee, has emphasised the need to continue efforts to achieve universal reporting in 2014, which marks the 10th anniversary of resolution 1540 (2004). Currently, 17 African states have yet to submit a first national report.
As a former chair of the 1540 Committee, South Africa appreciates the importance of assisting states with their reporting requirements under the resolution. Assisted by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament (UNREC), the government of South Africa decided to co-host a workshop for English-speaking African countries that have yet to submit their first reports.
Participants benefitted from the presence of two representatives of the Experts of the Committee established by resolution 1540 (2004) and organisations such as ISS, who have been researching international best practice in the preparation of initial reports, and in the implementation of the resolution more generally, as well as staff members of UNREC.
This hands-on training workshop provided a forum for the participating states to share their experiences, challenges and best practices and importantly, significantly enhanced participants’ capacity to prepare their country’s initial reports.
Chair: Noel Stott, Senior Research Fellow, Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, ISS Pretoria