UN security council resolution 1540: Origins, status, and future prospects

Tanya Ogilvie-White

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    THIS CHAPTER EXPLORES the origins, goals, and effectiveness of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which obligates states to take certain actions to help prevent terrorists from obtaining weapons of mass destruction (WMD). After a bumpy start, Resolution 1540 is emerging as a cornerstone of the nonproliferation and counterterrorism regimes, around which a complex framework of international security cooperation is being built. But while the vast majority of states now express support for the goals and objectives of the resolution, which is a major achievement in itself, implementation of the resolution still faces an uphill struggle. Technological and economic challenges are significant obstacles, but over the longer term, these can be surmounted through effective provision and coordination of international assistance by donor states, the 1540 Committee that was established by the resolution, and relevant international organizations. Thornier obstacles to implementation arise on the political side, stemming from the divided priorities of developed and developing states, different perceptions of threat and vulnerability, and competing concepts of sovereignty. Thanks to the flexibility and learning capacity of key actors—including proactive individuals—these political obstacles are gradually being worn down, but unless they are handled carefully they have the potential to reemerge. Of special significance is the style and character of U.S. nonproliferation and disarmament leadership, which has the potential to increase or undermine support for the initiative.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Cooperation on WMD Nonproliferation
    Editors William W. Keller, Scott A. Jones
    Place of PublicationGeorgia
    PublisherUniversity of Georgia Press
    ISBN (Print)978-0-8203-4891-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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