Thursday, May 28, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: Top minds meet on how to curb WMDs

Cape Town, South Africa – A first-of-its-kind meeting being held on 28 and 29 May 2015 addresses one of the most pertinent questions of our time: what are states doing to stop the world’s most dangerous weapons from falling into the wrong hands?

Eleven years ago, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted resolution 1540, which calls on states to prevent criminals, militant groups and other non-state actors from acquiring or using weapons of mass destruction. What progress has been made since then, and what does the future of implementing resolution 1540 look like? These and other critical topics will come under the spotlight at the meeting, organised by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the 1540 Committee Group of Experts.

The meeting will see 13 out of 18 former members of the expert group participating in nine panel discussions. Between them, the former experts attending the meeting are from 10 different countries and bring substantial professional expertise and experience in nuclear, chemical and biological weapons to the discussions.

‘The experts are the backbone of the 1540 Committee,’ says Noel Stott, a senior research fellow at the ISS. ‘Their know-how is critical in implementing resolution 1540; particularly on the African continent, faced with so many capacity challenges.’

UNSC resolution 1977 (2011) invites the 1540 Committee to ‘utilise and maintain expertise … in particular, of former experts of the group.’ The meeting provides a platform to make this possible. In addition to taking stock of the non-proliferation landscape and allowing for views and experiences to be shared, the meeting will also forge the foundation for a future network of former experts.
Three of the current experts are also attending the meeting, along with a senior UNODA official and representatives from the Republic of Korea.

Terence Taylor, coordinator of the 1540 Committee’s current Group of Experts, says: ‘This event is in effect the first substantive contribution to the Comprehensive Review of implementation that the 1540 Committee is required to undertake and complete before December 2016. The event was made possible by the excellent organisational efforts of the ISS.’

The event is part of the project launched by the ISS last year to facilitate the implementation of resolution 1540 by African states. ‘It is heartening that so many former experts are giving their time to participate and make contributions during the discussions,’ said Taylor.

Key recommendations identified in the meeting will be submitted to the 1540 Committee ahead of next year’s comprehensive review.


Click here for the agenda.

Read more on Twitter: @issafrica #UNSCR1540
Media enquiries: Nicolas Kasprzyk, ,+27 81 794 4947

United Nations press release

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