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United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1540

The CARICOM-United Nations 1540 Implementation Programme is a Region-wide initiative which assists CARICOM Member States in meeting their obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) and involves the implementation of strategic trade legislation – including domestic import and export laws – to prevent the transit, trans-shipment, import, export, re-export or brokering of dual-use materials that can be used in the development of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) weapons and related materials.

While the central thrust of the programme focuses on strategic non-proliferation, the initiative is also designed to build on existing regional port and border security protocols aimed at preventing illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons (SALW) and the trade in illegal narcotics.

UNSCR 1540 was adopted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and is legally-binding on all Member States of the United Nations. The Resolution mandates, inter alia, the imposition of appropriate legal, regulatory and administrative controls aimed at strengthening border and port detection capabilities and preventing the trafficking in materials and technology related to the production of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Further, Member States are required to adopt legislative, regulatory and enforcement measures to achieve the objectives of the Resolution.

The Resolution seeks to build on other major non-proliferation treaties which have previously been either signed or ratified by CARICOM members by further limiting access to, and transfer of, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). These treaties include the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), as well as associated export control arrangements.

Since the formal initiation of the CARICOM-UNSCR 1540 Implementation Programme in January 2010, there has been broad engagement with CARICOM members, both on the policy and operational/enforcement levels, in implementing effective control mechanisms to prevent the trade in dual-use materials. In addition to enacting these strictures, the programme has also focused on the two (2) other key components constituting the implementation process, namely –

    building regional awareness relating to UNSCR 1540; and
    building necessary capacity to detect, identify and interdict strategic goods and related materials.

The Centre for International Trade and Security (CITS) at the University of Georgia has been engaged, through the United Nations 1540 Committee, to provide the required technical assistance to CARICOM members in order to fully implement strategic trade legislation in compliance with UNSCR 1540 mandates.