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SC: Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destructions

Joint statement by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden delivered by Permanent Representative Geir O. Pedersen in the Open Debate on Non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, 28 June 2017.

| Security Council

Mr President, 

I have the privilege of speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway.

UN Security Council resolution 1540 and subsequent resolutions such as 2325 supplement agreements on disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It fills a critical gap in terms of preventing non-state actors, notably terrorist groups, from developing, acquiring, manufacturing, possessing, transporting, transferring or using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery. The resolution’s continued relevance is underscored by recent reports of use of chemical weapons by ISIL in Iraq and Syria. 

Mr President,

Efforts to prevent non-state actors, including terrorists, from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction is an on-going process. Hence we agree with the Concept note that implementation of resolution 1540 is a long-term task. It requires the continual vigilance and active participation of all relevant stakeholders, such as UN Member States, relevant international and regional organizations, the private sector and other parts of civil society.

Our efforts must be dynamic. New threats are emerging, such as cyber threats relating to weapons of mass destruction. The biological and chemical sectors require more attention as significant gaps remain there. It is crucial that we take into account the rapid pace of technological development. Technological advances may, on the one hand, assist our efforts to implement resolution 1540, but new technologies may also lead to new threats. It is therefore important that we continuously up-date our tool box for combatting WMD terrorism. This must be an important task for the 1540 Committee, as well as for the Council during its regular deliberations on WMD-related issues. States that have the necessary legislation and enforcement measures in place are better placed to benefit from the on-going technological advances. Hence, full implementation of resolution 1540 also contributes to social and economic progress.

The comprehensive review of resolution 1540 undertaken last year, showed that there had been considerable progress in both the outreach and in the implementation of the resolution. Initial reporting from the Member States has clearly improved, but progress has been uneven. We need to do more to ensure that domestic legislation and enforcement measures are adequate for addressing the current challenges. This is primarily a national responsibility, but the Nordic countries recognise the need for international support and assistance, and we contribute to this in various ways. 

Mr President,

Since its adoption by the Security Council, resolution 1540 has become more firmly anchored within the UN system and is complemented by work under relevant multilateral treaties. This extensive ownership is crucial since no nation is immune to WMD terrorism. Over the last decade, a broader international architecture of initiatives and partnerships has emerged to fight WMD terrorism. It is of the greatest importance that all these efforts are mutually supportive.

The Nordic countries are active in this broader partnership. We have contributed financially to the UN Secretariat’s work on resolution 1540. At the last Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2016, individual Nordic countries made national pledges, such as working towards minimising the use of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) in the civilian sector and enhancing the nuclear detection architecture. We are also engaged in long-standing technical cooperation with several countries on both nuclear safety and nuclear security. Other examples of relevant cooperation projects include training chemists from developing countries and assisting states in building capacity to prevent and counter biological threats.

Security Council resolution 1540 is clearly a key component of the international security architecture and we must all strive toward its full and global implementation.

Thank you.