UN Security Council Briefing: 1540 Committee
As delivered by Gerard van Bohemen Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, 22 December 2015.
Thank you Madam President,
We too thank Ambassador Oyarzun of Spain for his briefing as chair of the Security Council Committee established under Resolution 1540 and we congratulate him on his energetic leadership of this very important committee.
This briefing comes at an important time for the Resolution 1540. It’s ten years on from the Security Council’s unanimous adoption of the resolution, and we believe that we can say that good progress has been made, bearing in mind that it is a crucial backstop to the various treaty-based instruments that address the issue of the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Over the past ten years, governments have recognised the importance of both national action and international cooperation to secure and prevent the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. We welcome the fact that more than 90 per cent of United Nations members have voluntarily submitted national reports on implementation of the resolution.
For its part, New Zealand has been proud to support the efforts to extend implementation of the resolution throughout the Pacific, where we have funded expert assistance to support Pacific states to meet their commitments. We have also provided assistance with the drafting of counter terrorism legislation.
We support the Committee’s Comprehensive Review of the resolution. It is timely to take stock of our efforts over the past decade and determine how implementation of the resolution can be improved to best support our collective security.
The Group of Experts has collected an impressive amount of data, which underscores how successful implementation has been. We can use this data to reveal trends in the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and to better identify risks. We commend the Experts for their hard work and encourage them to continue the direct dialogue and outreach with states.
At the same time, we are aware of the burden placed on small states, especially Small Island Developing States in implementing such a complex legal framework. We are keen to explore practical solutions, especially for states that do not produce or store relevant materials, while respecting the legally binding nature of 1540 and acknowledging the importance of leaving no gaps. The short point is that implementation of this resolution is a significant burden for small countries with small administrations.
We also emphasise the importance of working through regional and sub-regional organisations, and welcome the Group of Experts’ cooperation with the Pacific Islands Forum in this regard.
New Zealand looks forward to working constructively with other Council members to use the review to update and strengthen the implementation of the resolution.
The horrific chemical attacks in Syria over the last two years demonstrate all too clearly that the threat posed by Weapons of Mass Destruction is as relevant now, if not more so, than it was a decade ago.
Ultimately, only through the total elimination of these weapons, together with ongoing, stringent verification measures implemented by all Member States, can we protect our collective security.