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United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 of 2004 is an important tool in the global non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) architecture. Adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the resolution imposes binding obligations on all States and commits governments to implement effective laws and regulations to prevent access to WMDs by non-State actors. As part of the binding obligations, the Security Council called upon all States to present a first report on steps they had taken or intended to take to implement this resolution. However, a small group of Member States has not yet submitted their initial report. States were also encouraged to prepare, on a voluntary basis, national implementation action plans mapping out their priorities and activities when implementing the key provisions of the resolution, and to submit those plans to the 1540 Committee.
As the legislative branch of government that is also responsible for oversight and budget allocations, parliaments have a key role to play in supporting the implementation of the resolution in its many provisions. Yet, in most countries there remains little awareness among parliamentarians of the security risks associated with WMDs. As a result, effective national legislative and regulatory frameworks are lacking in one respect or another.
In this context, the House of Representatives of New Zealand and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) are organizing a seminar aimed at encouraging national parliaments to promote implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1540. The seminar will take place in Wellington, the 19 and 20 September 2019.
The main purpose of the seminar is to strengthen parliaments’ ability to assess the risk associated with WMD and to take the requisite measures to lower the risk in the region. The seminar will aim to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and allow parliamentarians to establish informal networks across borders or individual contacts. It will take the form of a practical workshop, presenting examples of laws and regulations in place in countries within the Pacific region with a view to highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.