Security Council Extends Mandate of Committee Monitoring Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Weapons for 10 Years, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2663 (2022)
The Security Council today extended the mandate of its subsidiary 1540 Committee, for a period of ten years until 30 November 2032. The Committee monitors implementation of Council resolution 1540 (2004) that aims to prevent non-State actors from developing, acquiring, manufacturing, possessing, transporting, transferring or using nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their means of delivery.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2663 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2663 (2022)) and acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Council decided that the 1540 Committee will conduct comprehensive reviews on the status of implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) after five years and prior to the renewal of its mandate, submitting to the Security Council a report on the conclusion of each of those reviews, the first of which should be held before December 2027.
Also by the text, the Council decided to continue to provide the Committee with the assistance of its group of experts to support the body in carrying out its mandate; requested the Secretary-General to take necessary administrative measures to that effect; and further directed the Committee to review its internal guidelines on matters regarding its group of experts by 30 April 2023.
By further terms, the Council called on all States that have not yet presented a first report on steps they have taken or intend to take to implement resolution 1540 (2004) to continue to undertake efforts to submit such a report to the Committee without delay.
Following adoption of the resolution, Council members lauded Mexico’s chairpersonship of the Committee, highlighting that its diplomacy and professionalism led to adoption of the resolution. Underscoring States’ responsibilities and civil society participation for robust implementation of the resolution, they voiced hope that the review of the Committee’s guidelines and resolution’s emphasis on meaningful participation of women will further strengthen the Committee's work.
The representative of the United Kingdom called on all States to fully implement their obligations, noting that the context in which States carry out their responsibilities has changed since the establishment of the 1540 Committee’s mandate in 2004. He voiced disappointment that, due to the resistance of one Council member, the new mandate goes no further in strengthening the Committee’s support in implementation of the resolution, including on proliferation finance.
Ghana’s representative, Council President for November, speaking in his national capacity, stressed that the dynamic nature of science and technology makes full implementation of the mandate a long-term task. Periodic open briefings for Member States and organizations will be useful for sharing experiences among Member States, he said, emphasizing the importance of the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in disarmament and non-proliferation.
The representative of the United States, in a similar vein, said the new mandate reaffirms the importance of transparency and accountability in the work of its subsidiary bodies by increasing interactions with all relevant stakeholders. Also voicing disappointment that one Council member blocked efforts to make the Committee’s work more efficient and effective, he expressed hope that review of internal guidelines will result in enhancements to the Committee’s work, which his delegation hoped to see reflected in the adopted resolution.
The representative of the Russian Federation, a co-sponsor of the resolution, stressed that the unanimous decision to extend the mandate of the Committee was the result of the flexibility of all Council members. The key to the Committee’s success is its respect for all Member States, taking full account of their interests and needs, and responding in a timely manner to their requests, he added.
Mexico’s representative said his delegation attempted to find formulae that would facilitate convergence, given varying positions of Member States. The mandate extension will make it possible to continue strengthening assistance required by States to meet their obligations. Noting his country’s pursuit of a feminist foreign policy, he expressed appreciation that, for the first time, the Council encouraged the Committee to provide due attention to the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.
At the meeting’s onset, the Council observed a minute of silence in memory of Jiang Zemin, former President of China. The representative of Ghana, as Council President and on behalf of Council members, expressed sympathies to the Government and people of China on the passing of their former leader. China’s representative thanked Council members, noting that he will convey their condolences and sympathies to the Government and people of China, and to President Jiang’s family.
Also speaking on the adoption of the resolution were representatives of Ireland, United Kingdom, Albania, China, United Arab Emirates, Norway and India.
The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and ended at 10:56 a.m.
FERGAL MYTHEN (Ireland), speaking in explanation of position after the vote, commended Mexico for leading the comprehensive review of implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), adding that despite all difficulties, Mexico’s diplomacy, professionalism and patience has resulted in adoption of the resolution. The renewal of the mandate for the 1540 Committee will provide a basis for its work for the next 10 years. States must take seriously their responsibilities under the resolution, he said, adding that international organizations, civil society and the private sector also have a role to play in its robust implementation. Key challenges must be addressed, including those related to the evolving nature of proliferation risks due to advances in science and commerce, as well as issues related to the financing of proliferation and means of delivery by non-State actors. He also welcomed the Committee’s emphasis on the full, meaningful participation of women in all its activities.
FERGUS JOHN ECKERSLEY (United Kingdom) said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution, emphasizing that it remains a key pillar of the non-proliferation framework. Calling on all States to implement their obligations in full, he underscored their relevance, also spotlighting that the context in which States implement their respective responsibilities has changed since the establishment of the 1540 Committee’s mandate in 2004. He expressed disappointment that due to the resistance of one Council member, the new mandate does not go further in strengthening the Committee’s support in implementation of the resolution, including on proliferation finance. Recognizing the gravity of the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-State actors, he urged States to redouble their efforts to address the issue.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said the resolution, with the Committee’s new mandate to meet current challenges and make it more effective, sends the right message. The fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a long-term and continuous task, he said, stressing that the Council must maintain its focus and constantly adapt and improve. He voiced regret that proposed improvements to the text were not agreed on, noting that proper implementation of the resolution requires close cooperation between the 1540 Committee and the Group of Experts, primarily in the area of assistance to Member States. He welcomed the support and contribution of regional and international organizations, as well as involvement of representatives of civil society and media, and voiced support for strengthening the meaningful participation of women in decision-making for the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).
GENG SHUANG (China) said that despite improvements over the years to the international non-proliferation regime, the dire situation concerning access by non-State actors to weapons of mass destruction still exists, as do unfair expectations pertaining to the right of developing countries to the peaceful use of technologies. China voted in favour of the resolution extending the 1540 Committee’s mandate, as it is important to strengthen the international non-proliferation regime. The Committee should adhere to the core purpose of the mandate, address evolving proliferation risks, and respect and support the leading role of States in setting priorities and objectives. The Committee should carry out all its responsibilities with respect to technical assistance and international cooperation, help strengthen non-proliferation capacity-building for developing countries and protect their right to the peaceful use of technologies, thereby striking a better balance between security and development.
MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) voiced his appreciation to the Mexican Chair of the Council’s 1540 Committee in leading the related resolution’s comprehensive review. He welcomed its unanimous adoption, by which the Committee’s work and essential role will be enhanced to help Member States with implementation. He also highlighted the importance of the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in disarmament and non-proliferation activities. Recognizing that resolution 1540’s full implementation is a long-term endeavour, he said the 10-year renewal will provide, with the support of the Group of Governmental Experts, a framework to address the nature of the proliferation risk within its mandate.
MEENA ASIYA SYED (Norway), noting that her country voted in favour of the resolution, said her State is working towards verifiable nuclear disarmament and prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. She expressed strong support for the role of the Group of Experts, as well as hope that the 1540 Committee will soon begin reviewing its internal guidelines so that it can better utilize its expertise. Pleased that the resolution reflects the importance of full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all decision-making processes regarding non-proliferation, she noted that preambular paragraph 19 also reflects the approach outlined in the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament and is in line with Security Council resolution 1325. She added that the prospect of the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons — and their means of delivery — is “of real and continuous concern”, especially considering the continuously evolving nature of proliferation risk, including rapid advances in science, technology and international commerce.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), as a co-sponsor of the resolution, reiterated the great importance his delegation attaches to this “unique” Security Council document in the area of non-proliferation. He underscored that the unanimous decision to extend the mandate of the Committee was the result of major efforts and the flexibility of all the Council members. Spotlighting efforts of Mexico’s Chairpersonship in conducting the comprehensive implementation review, he noted that the report adopted — which laid a foundation for the resolution — is factual, balanced and consensus-based. He pointed out that the key to the Committee’s success is its respect for all Member States, taking full account of their interests and needs, and responding in a timely manner to their requests.
ROBERT A. WOOD (United States) welcomed unanimous renewal of the 1540 Committee’s mandate for another 10 years. With the new mandate, the Council reaffirms the importance of transparency and accountability in the work of its subsidiary bodies by increasing the interactions with all relevant stakeholders and making available technical information resources that Member States may find useful in their efforts to implement resolution 1540 (2004). Voicing disappointment that one Council member blocked efforts to make the Committee’s work more efficient and effective, he said elements proposed by the Chair would have given the Committee and its Group of Experts tools to support Member States more equitably, consistently and promptly in combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery to and by non-State actors. However, his delegation is pleased that the resolution adopted today calls on the Committee to review its guidelines and review process, he said, expressing hope that this will lead to the very enhancements to the Committee’s work which it hoped to see in the resolution itself. Noting Committee members “from whom we see recalcitrance and cynicism”, he voiced hope that future generations of stewardship of resolution 1540 (2004) and the 1540 Committee are more agile and more visionary in guiding the Committee toward the most effective disposition and capability possible in addressing the gravest of threats.
AMARNATH ASOKAN (India), noting that he voted in favour of the resolution, welcomed Mexico’s successful shepherding of consensus on it, adding that India accords high importance to the work of the 1540 Committee. The pronounced threat posed by the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors for terrorist purposes makes full implementation of Council resolution 1540 (2004) today far more important than when it was first adopted 18 years ago, especially with challenges posed by greater access to weapons through advances in new and emerging technologies, he said. Therefore, he welcomed the focus on such challenges in the new mandate, as well as its refined assistance mechanism and regional approach, which puts the 1540 Committee in a better position to assist Member States in their implementation of the resolution.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico) said that in light of varying positions of Member States, Mexico attempted to find formulae that would facilitate convergence, considering different points of view of all delegations. He welcomed the agreement reached, noting that the mandate extension will make it possible to continue strengthening the assistance required by States to meet their obligations. In substantive terms, the resolution considers deliberations that took place during the comprehensive review with the participation of all Member States. Recognizing that his country pursues a feminist foreign policy, he expressed appreciation that for the first time, the Council encouraged the Committee to provide due attention to the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), President of the Security Council, speaking in his national capacity, welcomed unanimous adoption of resolution 2663 (2022). The role of the 1540 Committee remains pivotal in dealing with global challenges on disarmament and non-proliferation, especially as they relate to non-State actors. The dynamic nature of science and technology makes full implementation of the mandate a long-term task, he said, noting that periodic open briefings for Member States and organizations will be useful for sharing experiences among Member States. The Committee’s assistance to States is an indispensable aspect in reaching the resolution’s goals, he said, highlighting the importance of the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in disarmament and non-proliferation. During this last meeting scheduled under Ghana’s presidency, he expressed his appreciation to Council members for their cooperation and support, as well as to the interpreters and conference officers, who facilitate the Council’s work.