Experts and authorities of the issue of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) met this afternoon at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) for the launch of the book Southern Flows: WMD Nonproliferation in the Developing World produced by the Stanley Foundation and the Stimson Center, which evaluates the successes and challenges in implementing Resolution 1540 of the United Nations on Nonproliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
In opening the event, the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin said that the OAS "has been supporting and working with our partners present today in the promotion of this valuable resolution in the Americas.” He added that eight years ago, the OAS embarked on path of cooperation with United Nations Office for Disarmament, the Stimson Center and the Stanley Foundation to assist member states in the implementation of Resolution 1540 through a combined approach which brought together the security and development agendas. In that sense he said the publication “represents a compilation of key regional perspectives on the matter we hope share the lessons and successes of this approach.”
Ambassador Ramdin added that the OAS has been promoting a broader definition of security in this Hemisphere called “Multidimensional Security,” and that in such context “we began advocating the important links between security and development contained within the resolution. Stimson’s’ innovative approach to implementation of Resolution 1540 is a pragmatic embodiment of the OAS concept of multidimensional and cooperative security,” he said.
The OAS Assistant Secretary General alluded to the challenges facing member states in strengthening their national capacities to address the issue, the need to work with innovative approaches to engage countries and increase the level of ownership and commitment to 1540 at the subregional level, and how the OAS, through its own resolutions has supported these processes. He also mentioned that sectors such as the private sector and non-governmental organizations can play a key role in expanding the scope of activities of Resolution 1540 as well as regional and subregional cooperation, for example in Central America and the Caribbean.
In her remarks, the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. Angela Kane, said the main conclusion of the study “is that development and security are mutually reinforcing goals. By introducing several years ago the concept of ‘dual benefit,’ the Stimson Center has identified a new approach for promoting the implementation of resolution 1540 in many countries—an approach recognizing the multidimensional nature of security.”
In explaining the scope of the report, the UN High Representative said that investments in export and border controls “not only contribute to regional and national security, but also help in improving the wider environment for development, by promoting stability and confidence conducive to growing economies. This helps to explain why support for resolution 1540 has been growing worldwide.”
In that context, the UN representative explained in detail the work of the UN Office for Disarmament and how it has been contributing to the larger process of promoting the implementation of Resolution 1540. “Our contributions have been on three dimensions—in facilitating implementation of the resolution by individual member states, in building cooperation between intergovernmental organizations, and in pursuing partnerships with civil society and industry, “ she said.
“Our common goal at the United Nations with respect to resolution 1540 is to assist in its effective implementation everywhere,” she said and recalled that “there is a growing consensus that the international community needs to stop the proliferation of these horrible weapons, to enhance everyone’s protection, safety and security. Complacency has no place in the face of such a grave danger” said Kane who quoted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who said that “in the decade since its adoption, resolution 1540 has become an important component of the global security architecture.”
The UN official concluded saying that “It is my deepest hope that all these efforts, combined with other activities undertaken under multilateral treaties, will bring us closer to the achievement of an even greater common goal—a world entirely free of all weapons of mass destruction.”
Keith Porter, President of the Stanley Foundation said for his part that in 2006 the Stimson Center and the Stanley Foundation launched an initiative aimed at improving the implementation of 1540, that includes a unique mechanism which allows developed countries to work together to address security threats. “That was how we hit upon the innovative dual benefits approach to identify and promote positive synergies between the development and soft security challenges of the southern hemisphere and the concerns about WMD terrorism and proliferation in the North.”
“This approach called Beyond Boundaries reinforced the legitimacy of the UN as a central player in addressing transnational threats and opportunities,” he added, and this is reflected in the case of the Western Hemisphere where today all of the countries in the region have taken the first step toward compliance with the UN resolution submitting a report to the 1540 Committee. “1540 remains perhaps the world's only equitable multilateral framework to counter WMD terrorism that, if implemented more innovatively, would bolster not just global security, but regional and national security as well.”
Ellen Laipson, President and CEO of Stimson explained that the project on which the publication was founded seeks to "create a synergy on how regions are assessing themselves and their ability to fulfill the obligations and responsibilities assigned by Resolution 1540." The research team compiled the information that national experts presented on their ability to comply. "Therefore we promoted a transfer and exchange of knowledge between experts from the region which became an analysis of how experts can complement their knowledge to create a holistic view of national capacities in this regard," she added.
The volume presented today “synthesizes our seven-year endeavor, which involved extensive research, field workshops and interviews, and assessments in six regions of the Global South. It assesses the successes and the challenges of our 'whole of society' approach to implementing Resolution 1540 through the eyes of experts in the Caribbean, Central America, the Andean region, the Middle East, Eastern Africa, and Southeast Asia.”
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The B-Roll of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.