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National statements

1540 Committee (Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction) Briefing

Thematic issues

  • Counter-terrorism
  • Kenya
  • Sanctions
  • Small arms
  • Terrorism


Statement by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

Thank you Ambassador Oh for your report, and let me convey Australia's appreciation for the Republic of Korea's and your own energetic leadership of this Committee during your Council term, and for RoK's contribution to global non-proliferation more broadly.

Last month Australia attended the Regional Workshop in Seoul which Ambassador Oh referred to. The workshop was valuable for exchanging lessons learned in implementing resolution 1540, and for identifying what we need to do regionally and globally to keep up with the evolving proliferation threat. We encourage the Committee in the future to continue the active advocacy and outreach that the RoK has undertaken.

Sadly, as we mark the tenth anniversary year of Resolution 1540, the threat of non-state actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is as real as ever. Expanded international trade and financial linkages, greater scope for intangible technology transfer, and technological advances themselves have increased the challenge of proliferation to both non-state actors as well as States.

It is therefore all the more urgent that all States fulfil their obligations to implement Resolution 1540, seeking assistance when they need it, and strengthening regional and international cooperation to starve proliferators of items, expertise and finance.

The Comprehensive Review, and the forward strategy as requested by the Council in May this year, will be vital to accelerating implementation, to ensuring the international community is meeting the evolving threat, and to enhancing the role of the Committee. The Committee must always strive to enhance its accessibility, productivity and effectiveness. A living "points of contact" network is a welcome initiative.

I would like to identify three areas where we can improve implementation of Resolution 1540.

First, it is vital that we continue to improve the linkages between the resolution 1540 and other relevant UNSC committees, UN instruments and multilateral non-proliferation and export control regimes. The considerable expertise that rests in these agencies and arrangements can help with 1540 implementation, for example by providing control lists that can form the basis of national export controls. And earlier this year, in our capacity as Chair of the Australia Group, members wished us to advise the Committee that the Australia Group is ready to provide assistance upon request to support the implementation of export controls for chemical and biological transfers. And as Jordan has pointed out today such assistance is needed.

Second, increasing outreach to industry and the private sector is crucial to effective export controls. Australia's experience in implementing an industry code of practice for chemical precursors, has reinforced for us that when industry and the private sector understand the threats surrounding proliferation, they can become valuable partners – rather than as adversaries – in countering-proliferation. The "Weisbaden Process" hosted by Germany also reinforces this fact.

Third, we need to assist developing countries in implementing their 1540 obligations, and ensure that such assistance is practical and coordinated. Australia has been working with countries in our region, as well as in the Caribbean and Africa through Kenya, to build capacity and to leverage the links between security and development. Detecting and combating illicit trafficking in WMD can also aid prevention of small arms, drugs and wildlife trafficking.

For this reason, the Council and its committees should look to provide more coordinated outreach, advice and support across non-proliferation, counter-terrorism and sanctions obligations. The CARICOM regional focal point has demonstrated how this coordinated approach can be effectively delivered in the field, and how this can ease the burden on smaller States.

To conclude, Australia will continue to fully support the work of the 1540 Committee. We must close the gaps in implementation, and we must stay ahead of technological advances and the techniques of proliferators.

Last Updated: 4 June 2015
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