Hello. I am Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins.
I’d like to say a few words to you today about a very important document that the United Nations Security Council adopted in 2004, known as UN Security Council Resolution 1540. In the aftermath of September 11, Security Council Resolution 1540 – also known as “Resolution 1540” — required that all the countries of the world take steps to protect against the very serious threats of terrorists, or any other non-state actors, acquiring and potentially using weapons of mass destruction.
To accomplish this, Resolution 1540 requires that all countries pass laws to prevent terrorists and other non-state actors from accessing weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, and related materials and know-how. And let’s be clear, by non-state actors, I don’t only mean terrorists. Resolution 1540 is designed to prevent any individuals, groups, or even private companies from posing potential WMD proliferation risks, even unintentionally. Resolution 1540 aims to prevent those who intend harm from being able to get their hands on or even worse, use weapons capable of killing large numbers of innocent people.
To understand the importance of Resolution 1540, just look at the latest heart wrenching headlines out of Ukraine. Russia’s unprovoked, unjustifiable war of choice in Ukraine has only underscored the vital importance of Resolution 1540 by putting a spotlight on the vulnerability of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, facilities, and related materials.
In the coming months, the UN Security Council’s 1540 Committee will meet to review the progress made in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors. The Committee will also take stock of the current WMD threat environment as it relates to potential non-state proliferators.
The 1540 Committee and its group of independent technical experts must be empowered to help governments that are undertaking efforts to prevent WMD proliferation. We look forward to the Committee completing a strong review that will allow the Security Council to best tailor its future work on this vital issue. The 1540 Committee and the Security Council can count on the full support and engagement of the United States as we all complete this work together.
UN Security Council Resolution 1540 is imperative for keeping us, the entire world, safe from weapons of mass destruction. And that depends on every country doing its part.