UN Security Council Resolution 1540

UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 was unanimously adopted by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter on April 28, 2004. It is the first Security Council resolution addressing the generic issue of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation, and places a range of binding obligations on states to ensure that non-state actors cannot manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer, or use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, their means of delivery, and related materials. In these areas, the resolution decides that, inter alia, shall develop and maintain appropriate, effective measures regarding:

  • accountancy and security;
  • physical protection;
  • border controls and law enforcement; and
  • national export and trans-shipment controls

UNSCR 1540 establishes a committee to receive reports from and guide states on their implementation of the resolution. Additionally, in view of the complex non-proliferation obligations set out in the resolution, a key element of UNSCR 1540 is its call on states in a position to offer assistance to other countries (for example, technical or regulatory information) to do so.

Canadian Position

Canada supports full implementation of UNSCR 1540 as an important means to reduce proliferation risks and to contribute to our own security and international security. In terms of Canada’s own implementation of the resolution, three reports have been submitted to the UNSCR 1540 Committee, and are available on the UN website.

Globally, Canada recognizes that implementation of UNSCR 1540 has been uneven. Over 30 states have yet to submit an initial report to the 1540 Committee. Other states are still only partially implementing the various aspects of the resolution. Canada has actively advanced UNSCR 1540 implementation through our support for a number of regional workshops to raise awareness among UN member states of their obligations under the resolution. These activities have included support for: an Association of South-East Asian Nations Regional Forum workshop in February 2007; a UN Office of Disarmament Affairs workshop in Jamaica in May 2007; an initial workshop on UNSCR 1540 implementation in the Caribbean held in the Dominican Republic in February 2008; and a follow-up workshop on export controls and maritime security in the Caribbean, held in Jamaica in June 2009. Canada's activities as a part of the Global Partnership Program are also making a significant and tangible contribution to UNSCR 1540 implementation in the states of the former Soviet Union.