23 August 2016, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by H.E. Mr. Ioannis Vrailas, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
– As delivered –
- I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
- First of all, allow me to thank you for organising this open debate on an important topic and for the concept note you prepared. Indeed preventing the proliferation of WMD and related materials and technologies to violent, extremist armed groups and non-state actors is a key concern for the entire international community.
- The European Union is gravely concerned by the possibility of non-state actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Ongoing reports and allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria and Iraq are gravely concerning in this regard. Such risks add a further critical dimension to the current international security context – a context that is characterised by more acute and diffuse threats, in which the distinction between international and internal security is blurred.
- It is vitally important to enhance international cooperation, both in the framework of the United Nations and amongst all Member states, in order to address these challenges. Moreover, the European Union calls on all states that have not yet done so to become party to the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and all other international instruments against terrorism listed by the Secretary-General.
- UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) remains a central pillar of the international non-proliferation architecture and its importance has become even greater in today’s challenging context. Since the beginning, we have been a staunch supporter of the robust and effective implementation of UNSCR 1540 with the objective of strengthening global efforts in this regard. The EU has carried out a number of projects with a view to continue promoting the full implementation of the resolution and to provide assistance to third countries in complying with their obligations under UNSCR 1540.
- In June, the EU submitted a report entitled “EU support to the full and universal implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540”. This report demonstrates the strong and consistent commitment by the EU and its Member States to UNSCR 1540 during the past decade and sets out our proposals on how this instrument should develop in the future in order to adapt to the new security challenges.
- I will not set out in detail all the elements contained in this report. But let me draw the attention of the Council to a couple of points relevant to today’s meeting:
- Firstly, you will notice throughout the report the strong EU commitment to UNSCR 1540 implementation, both internally within the EU and on the international scene. Take for example the EU-funded ‘CBRN risk mitigation Centres of Excellence initiative’, launched in 2010. With 8 regional secretariats and 54 partner countries, it has been very successful in strengthening national and regional CBRN governance. Another example is the robust EU export control regime which is directly applicable and binding for all EU Member States. EU legislation is updated regularly to take into consideration technological developments and the latest decisions of the relevant international non-proliferation regimes and export control arrangements. The EU has also developed a dedicated EU-P2P export control programme for dual-use items, worth EUR 30 million since 2004 and aimed at helping authorities in 34 States in six regions to strengthen their export control regime and to better comply with the obligations in UNSCR 1540. In close collaboration with EU Member States, the EU continues to implement CBRN Action Plans and to strengthen CBRN security throughout the EU. Likewise, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation “Horizon 2020” encourages novel solutions to protect critical infrastructure and fight crime and terrorism.
- On the international scene, the EU and its Member States continue to strongly support the various regimes such as the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as well as the Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction. In light of new technological advances, current challenges and future threats, the upcoming Review Conference of the BTWC offers an important opportunity to explore ideas and agree on specific decisions and actions to ensure the continued relevance and effectiveness of the Convention in a fast changing world.
- My second point is on assistance. The 1540 Committee’s process for matching requests with offers of assistance should be improved. The 1540 Committee should have the technical, human and financial resources it needs to effectively fulfil its responsibilities; it should support States to develop strong, detailed assistance requests. Consideration should be given to providing the 1540 Committee with a permanent or longer-term mandate, reflecting the long-term nature of proliferation challenges. The 1540 Committee should strengthen its engagement with assistance providers, including with the EU and its Member States and other donors participating in the Global Partnership. The Comprehensive Review will likely result in new needs and assistance requests. It is important that donors respond accordingly by making the best use of available resources and considering mobilising additional resources, including contributions in kind.
- A third and last point is a very important one for the EU: outreach to the private sector and to civil society. The UNSCR 1540 Committee should promote an active role for industry, including through close coordination with relevant EU programmes, the Wiesbaden process, the Botticelli project and other industry initiatives. Such efforts should include a broad range of countries, regions, sectors, sizes (especially SMEs) and types of players: suppliers, exporters and transporters. Outreach to industry and the financial sector should in particular aim at:
- encouraging companies to set up internal compliance programmes;
- encouraging cooperation between governments and industry/the financial sector, for instance when drafting legislation or implementing strategic trade controls;
- addressing the challenges posed by cross-border supply chains.
- Increased outreach should also target civil society at large as well as academia, national parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to raise awareness of the Resolution and its legal requirements.
- This year marks the Comprehensive Review of UNSCR 1540 and we expect it to reaffirm the centrality, importance and authority of the Resolution in the multilateral non-proliferation architecture. The Review should also be used to strengthen support for the 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts. The EU and its Member States believe that the future development of UNSCR 1540 should take account of new and emerging trends in nuclear, chemical and biological security. The 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts should be in a position to effectively support States to implement UNSCR 1540 in light of these trends.
- As a result of the Comprehensive Review, the EU and its Member States favour a strong restatement of the Council’s support for the full implementation of Resolution 1540, including potentially through a further Security Council Resolution.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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