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December 15, 2016 - New York

"Preventing catastrophe: A global agenda for stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors."

Distinguished Chair of the Security Council and the 1540 Committee,

Distinguished delegates, members of the Group of Experts, UNODA colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Mr. President,

It is an honor to take part in this open debate of the Security Council on behalf of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States. I’d like to begin by thanking you for promoting discussion on the importance of preventive mechanisms for countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors, particularly in the context of the current review of Resolution 1540 (2004).

The OAS would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the Kingdom of Spain for their very capable leadership as Chair of the 1540 Committee.

Mr. President,

Since the adoption of Resolution 1540 more than a decade ago, the Organization of American States, through its Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), has focused on promoting a regional framework for cooperation among its Member States to ensure the effective implementation of UNSCR 1540 throughout the Americas.

Because we have also been tasked with implementing UNSCR 1373 (2001) and the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, the OAS is uniquely positioned to promote both global and regional instruments at the hemispheric level. We know, however, that successful implementation of the 1540 resolution is a shared responsibility among States, international organizations, the private sector, the scientific sector and society as a whole. And for this reason I would like to acknowledge our strategic partnerships and strong collaborative relations with other organizations, especially the 1540 Committee, its Group of Experts and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA).

The OAS is pleased to see the focus that the recently approved resolution 2325 places on the role of regional organizations and regional cooperation. In this spirit, the OAS celebrates the agreement reached with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs to designate, with financial support, an OAS 1540 Regional Coordinator for the Americas.

Mr. President,

The OAS is committed to increasing dialogue and strengthening political outreach and awareness among the countries of the Hemisphere.

Since 2014, we have been promoting the development and implementation of National Action Plans in the Americas to complement existing national legislative frameworks for combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Currently CICTE is supporting the efforts of 10 countries in the region in this area, including Chile, CICTE’s current Chair, and Panama, who as Vice Chair and host of the upcoming CICTE annual meeting, has designated “the prevention of proliferation of WMD and terrorist financing” as the key topic for debate. Furthermore, the Government of Panama, together with Spain and the OAS, sponsored a non-proliferation side event in the framework of the 71st session of the General Assembly this past September.

Mr. President,

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will continue to pose a growing threat to international peace and security. The more complex and asymmetric the violence, the greater the risk of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

We know that in most Latin American and Caribbean countries the human, financial and material resources allocated for emergency preparedness and response are limited. And while the humanitarian impact of weapons of mass destructions is undeniable, few, if any, countries currently have the capacity to address the humanitarian consequences of an attack caused by a weapon of mass destruction.

As a result, we believe it is imperative for Member States to take into account a series of measures for enhancing their 1540 frameworks, such as:

• Reinforcement of traditional measures, such as disarmament and counter-terrorism diplomacy, arms control regimes, multilateral agreements, threat reduction assistance, and export controls.

• Promotion of effective interdiction as a critical part of national strategies to combat nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery.

• Strengthened capacity of military, intelligence, technical, and law enforcement communities to prevent the movement of dual-use materials, technology, and expertise to terrorist organizations while promoting international trade.

• Participation in and compliance with relevant international agreements, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

• Strengthened WMD institutional and legal frameworks.

Furthermore, to prevent the spread of WMD and related materials to non-state actors, we believe Member States should consider:

• Improving the security of existing stockpiles.

• Improving border controls and the tracking of suspect shipments through increased communication among all stakeholders and through more efficient inspection policies.

• Creating an international monitoring system to help eradicate WMD black markets and terrorist training camps that disseminate WMD technology and information.

• Developing new detection equipment to prevent terrorists from transporting WMD.

• Supporting greater intelligence gathering and analysis.

• Supporting and funding research and development to improve member state ability to respond to evolving threats.

Mr. President,

We believe that regional bodies play an important role in addressing proliferation and terrorism. So allow me please to conclude by reaffirming OAS support for existing nonproliferation and arms control systems and our commitment to improving their effectiveness throughout the Western Hemisphere. And because implementation of 1540 must reconcile international security and strategic trade needs, the OAS will also continue to encourage legislation that supports both non-proliferation objectives and commercial interests, and that criminalizes offenses related to the proliferation and financing of weapons of mass destruction.

Thank you again, Mr. President, for this opportunity. The OAS reiterates its firm commitment to implementation of Resolution 1540 and has every confidence that this open debate will make essential contributions to its ongoing review.