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06 August 2014

Remarks by Ian J. Stewart to the UN Security Council 1540 committee, 4TH August 2014

Ian J. Stewart, Project Alpha

Ian Stewart of Project Alpha briefed the 1540 committee on a recent report that he and Dr Rajiv Nayan of IDSA authored on the subject of effective practices for the implementation of UNSCR 1540. The report is available from this page.

Logo of Project Alpha

This is a priviledge to be given this rare opportunity to present today a summary of the findings of the February civil society workshop to the 1540 Committee.

To introduce myself, I run Project Alpha at King’s College London which is a collection of projects that works to understand and counter proliferation-related trade, including with regards to the implementation of resolution 1540.

It was in this context that King’s College London partnered with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and India’s Institute for Strategic Studies to organise the workshop, which took place in India, in close cooperation with UNODA. The workshop focused on effective practices for implementation of the resolution in its second decade. These effective practices are listed in the report that has been distributed to you.

Taking place in the context of the 10th anniversary, the workshop also provided an opportunity for civil society to reflect upon what had been achieved in the resolution’s first decade. A great deal of progress was made in the resolution’s first decade, particularly with regards to the adoption of legislation. However, as was made clear at the conference, a great deal more remains to be done if the resolution’s objectives are to be met. This was highlighted in particular by the regional exploration of 1540’s implementation which is summarised in the report.

Before turning to highlight some of the specific findings, I would like to address briefly the role of civil society in implementing 1540. Civil society has three roles in implementing 1540. First, civil society conducts its own activities, some of which may complement the needs of 1540. Second, civil society can support states in implementing 1540 to the extent desired. Typically, this includes training, drafting laws, etc. Third, civil society can support the 1540 committee to the extent that the committee desires it. Certainly, civil society has plentiful resources that can help implement 1540. Civil society is also well placed to identify effective practices as it often works across jurisdictions. A pressing question therefore is how these resources can be appropriately utilised.

Turning to the direct findings of the workshop, let me summarize what, in my view, were the main challenges, opportunities and effective practices that were identified in four areas: legislation, operation, enforcement, and outreach and information sharing.

Legislation: This was not a major focus of the workshop. However, one recommendation that emerged in the area of legislation was that it would be beneficial for states to be able to see how neighbouring countries implement 1540’s legislative requirements. The background to this recommendation is that nearby states often have similar structures of government and law, thus potentially providing a useful template. The challenge is that presently the 1540 matrices cannot be interrogated by region. Additionally, regional organisations would evidently be better able to assist members if they had good visibility of how each country implemented 1540’s provisions.

On 1540 Operations, which include operation of an export licensing system, there was a strong feeling at the event that states could benefit from guidance on what technologies should be subject on control in order to meet 1540’s requirements. There was also a focus on what additional help states should provide to their industry in order to ensure 1540’s requirements are met while minimising the compliance burden. For example, it was felt that states should ensure that there is a provision of assistance in determining whether an item is controlled or whether an end user is of concern. Not all of these measures require the state to operate a service, which could be burdensome. Instead, in many instances the state could delegate to civil society or even private enterprises.

On 1540 Enforcement: one particular challenge that was identified with regards to enforcement relates to intangible technology controls. Such controls are expected under 1540, but there is little commonality between states as to what measures should be implemented. This in turn means that there are few common approaches amongst those who hold intangibles, including universities.

Outreach and information sharing: it was felt that there is an insufficient understanding of how 1540 is being implemented. As you know, the group of experts has recently reworked its matrix structure. However, maintaining 300 lines for 193 countries, many of which use different languages and have different legal systems is evidently a resource intensive task. I have been exploring whether civil society can assist with this process and would be happy to discuss what mechanisms could be used to manage this. We should be clear, however, that without a good understanding of 1540 implementation, it is not possible to effectively prioritise outreach efforts.

Finally, I would like to raise the question of how to take the workshop’s findings forward. In my letter to the committee, I asked that the report be published via the 1540 website alongside any other effective practices submitted to the committee. I would suggest that the committee could usefully review the specific recommendations for potential inclusion in the work program or related documents.

In the context of taking the findings forward, I would like to mention that KCL is planning two follow up events. The first will explore how to balance non-proliferation and academic freedom in the context of intangibles, with the suggestion that the 1540 framework can contribute to this balance. The second will be co-hosted with Chatham House and will review 1540’s progress and identify priorities ahead, notably in the context of your 2016 comprehensive review. I have been made aware that the British government considers inviting the 1540 committee to conduct a country visit to the UK during the week of these events.

On behalf of the partners involved in organising this event, I would like to express my gratitude for the attendance and rich contribution to the Delhi workshop of Mr Michael Aho on behalf of the Committee. I would also like to thank UNODA for its support in hosting the workshop.

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