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United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540

A helicopter with UN insignia

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 was adopted unanimously in 2004. The purpose of UNSCR 1540 is to require states to criminalise the proliferation of WMD , enact strict export controls and secure sensitive materials. Importantly, UNSCR 1540 applies to all UN member states: thereby bringing into the non-proliferation regime states which have remained outside the WMD treaties and other instruments. Specifically, the resolution requires all states to (UN 2004, pp 2/3):

  • refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery
  • adopt and enforce appropriate effective laws which prohibit any non-State actor to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, in particular for terrorist purposes, as well as attempts to engage in any of the foregoing activities
  • take and enforce effective measures to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons and their means of delivery, including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials and to this end shall:
    • Develop and maintain appropriate effective measures to account for and secure such items in production, use, storage or transport
    • Develop and maintain appropriate effective physical protection measures
    • Develop and maintain appropriate effective border controls and law enforcement efforts to detect, deter, prevent and combat, including through international cooperation when necessary, the illicit trafficking and brokering in such items in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law
    • Establish, develop, review and maintain appropriate effective national export and trans-shipment controls over such items, including appropriate laws and regulations to control export, transit, trans-shipment and re-export and controls on providing funds and services related to such export and trans-shipment such as financing, and transporting that would contribute to proliferation, as well as establishing end-user controls; and establishing and enforcing appropriate criminal or civil penalties for violations of such export control laws and regulation