United Nations Resolution 1540 would make proliferation more difficult and less attractive, facilitate the dismantlement of proliferation networks, and create momentum to strengthen other aspects of the nonproliferation regime—but major challenges preventing actual implementation need to be comprehensively addressed, says a new paper from the Carnegie Endowment.

Resolution 1540, introduced in 2004, is the most comprehensive response by the UN Security Council following the exposure of the transnational nuclear smuggling network set up by Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan. The resolution is exceptional in that it compels every UN member state to criminalize the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to non-state actors in its national legislation and establish effective domestic controls to prevent proliferation.

In Implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1540: A Division of Labor Strategy, Monika Heupel, a former visiting scholar in the Carnegie Endowment’s Nonproliferation Program, argues that in light of the huge challenges faced, implementation depends upon applying a division of labor strategy.  In this strategy, international organizations, individual states, and NGOs would all utilize their comparative advantages to address the various implementation challenges.

Heupel urges policy makers to consider the following recommendations:

• The Security Council should strengthen the structural foundation of the 1540 Committee—responsible for promoting the implementation of the Resolution—by turning it into a permanent body and by adding additional personnel and experts. International organizations, individual states, and NGOs should cooperate fully with the Committee to make more legislative, technical and financial assistance available to the 1540 Committee. 
• Assisting high-risk states should continue to be a priority for the Committee, but should be extended beyond Russia and the former Soviet Union successor states. 

• The nuclear weapons states should build political will to strengthen the nonproliferation regime by taking more credible steps toward disarmament and refrain from modernizing their nuclear weapon arsenal. 

• NGOs and regional organizations should put pressure on advanced states who have sufficient capacities and expertise to implement Resolution 1540 but who have been slow to do so.

About the Author
Monika Heupel was a visiting scholar in the Carnegie Endowment’s Nonproliferation Program, assessing the United Nations Security Council’s approach toward terrorism and WMD proliferation. She is currently a visiting scholar at German Institute for International and Security Affairs. 

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