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UN Security Council Resolution 1540

Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540), was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council in 2004. It places legally binding obligations on States to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, their means of delivery, and related materials to non-state actors, including terrorists and traffickers of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and materials.

Binding obligations

Under UNSCR 1540, States are obliged to do three key things:

Offering assistance to other countries

Importantly, UNSCR 1540 encourages international cooperation and invites States to assist other countries who may need technical, legal, or capacity-building support to fulfil their obligations under the Resolution.

To assist with this, the Resolution established the 1540 Committee, which is supported by a Group of Experts appointed by the Secretary General.  The committee receives reports on 1540 implementation produced by States, and matches technical assistance requests and offers. It also raises awareness of the risk of WMD proliferation and conducts outreach.

Canada and UNSCR 1540

Canada supports the full and universal implementation of UNSCR 1540 as an important means to reduce WMD proliferation and security risks.

Canada works with its partners to advance implementation, including by encouraging the submission of reports and action plans by all UN Member States to the 1540 Committee. To date, Canada has submitted three national reports and two national action plans.

At the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, Canada led a joint initiative with the Republic of Korea encouraging 1540 implementation. Following a Comprehensive Review of UNSCR 1540 in 2016, Canada co-sponsored UNSCR 2325 which urged States to intensify UNSCR 1540 implementation efforts.

Through its WMD Threat Reduction Program, Canada is providing capacity-building assistance which supports 1540 implementation in several regions worldwide.

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