Delegation of the European Union

to the International Organisations in Vienna

EU Statement – United Nations Security Council: Preventing Catastrophe: Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction by non-State Actors

15/12/2016 - 16:59
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15 December 2016, New York – Statement on behalf of the EU and its Member States by Mr. Jacek Bylica, Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-proliferation, European External Action Service, at the Security Council open debate on Preventing Catastrophe: A Global Agenda for Stopping the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction by non-State Actors.

Mr. President,

  1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

  1. First of all, we would like to express our gratitude to the Spanish Chair of the Security Council and to you personally, Mr. Dastis, for convening this open debate. We also wish to commend through you, Mr President, Ambassador Oyarzun and all his colleagues from the 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts for the excellent work done during the comprehensive review of UN Security Council Resolution 1540.

Mr. President,

  1. The European Union welcomes the timely unanimous adoption by the UN Security Council of new Resolution 2325 (2016) which has been co-sponsored by all 28 EU Member States. The new Resolution reiterates the decisions in and requirements of Resolution 1540 (2004) and re-emphasizes the importance for all States to implement fully and effectively that Resolution.
  2. The EU and its Member States believe that UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) remains a central pillar of the international non-proliferation architecture. This resolution must continue to be the cornerstone of a global agenda for stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors. UNSCR 1540 has become even more important in the current context characterised by acute and diffuse threats, in which the distinction between international and internal security is blurred. The future development of UNSCR 1540 should therefore take account of new and emerging trends in nuclear, chemical and biological security. We are pleased to see that the comprehensive review and the report elaborated by the 1540 Committee reaffirm the centrality, importance and authority of UNSCR 1540 in the multilateral non-proliferation architecture.

Mr President,

  1. In June this year, the EU submitted to the 1540 Committee a report entitled “EU support to the full and universal implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540“. This report demonstrates the strong and consistent commitment by the EU and its Member States to UNSCR 1540 during the past decade. This includes the very substantial and long-standing EU support to the Global Trust Fund managed by UNODA. Moreover, in 2016 the EU and its Member States carried out targeted outreach towards the States yet to submit a first report to the 1540 Committee. This EU outreach effort can give rise to EU follow-up support action at the request of the countries concerned.
  2. The EU also submitted its proposals on how this instrument should develop in the future in order to adapt to the new security challenges. We are pleased to see that several of our proposals are reflected both in the 1540 Committee’s report on the comprehensive review and in the new Security Council resolution.
  3. We are particularly pleased to see that the new resolution puts a renewed emphasis on coordination between the 1540 Committee and international, regional and sub-regional organisations. Likewise, we welcome the idea of strengthening the Committee’s role in facilitating technical assistance for implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), in particular by engaging actively in matching offers and requests for assistance, including through a regional approach.
  4. The EU now stands ready to adopt in the coming weeks a new, ambitious funding scheme designed to help implement the outcome of the comprehensive review. Based on our fruitful cooperation in the past, we will again ask UNODA to perform the role of implementing partner for this project. The future project will extend over a three years period. It will take the legal form of a Council Decision under the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The new Council Decision will prioritise regions which are particularly relevant for EU security. In this context, we will seek to promote a reinforced cooperation between UNODA and the OSCE. Last but not least, we are keen to foster a closer cooperation between EU-funded projects implemented by UNODA and those implemented by the European Commission through the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence.
  5. With regard to the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence initiative (CoE), let me recall that this is a capacity-building programme with 55 partner countries and 8 regional Centres of Excellence. It is financed under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), with a budget of € 250 million for 2010 – 2020.
  6. Another means of supporting UNSCR 1540 implementation is the robust EU export control regime for dual-use items. The EU has developed a dedicated EU-P2P export control programme for dual-use goods, worth € 30 million, in order to help authorities in 34 third States to strengthen their export control regime and to better comply with the obligations in UNSCR 1540.
  7. The EU and its Member States continue implementing CBRN Action Plans. The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation “Horizon 2020” encourages novel solutions to protect critical infrastructure and fight crime and terrorism.
  8. On the international scene, the EU and its Member States continue supporting the various regimes such as the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We also continue supporting the Global Partnership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. President,

  1. The risk of non-State actors, particularly terrorists, using weapons of mass destruction has become a major threat against global security. But as the threat-level increases, so does the awareness and the international community’s response. Throughout 2016, several initiatives were taken, in addition to the UNSCR 1540 comprehensive review: the 4th Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, the work of the UN-mandated Joint Investigation Mechanism (JIM), which attributed use of chemical weapons in Syria to the Syrian Armed Forces as well as Da’esh, and last week’s IAEA Nuclear Security Conference, to name but a few. The EU participated proactively in all these efforts.
  2. The EU Global Strategy, issued in June 2016, will provide the foundation for us to continue and even step up our efforts in the coming years. In line with the EU Global Strategy, we will strongly support the multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control treaties and regimes. And we will use every means at our disposal to assist in resolving proliferation crises, as we successfully did on the Iranian nuclear programme.
  1. In conclusion, Mr. President, I wish to reaffirm the readiness of the EU and its Member States to implement in a proactive manner the outcome of the 2016 comprehensive review of UN Security Council Resolution 1540. We will do so in close cooperation with the 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts, in partnership with all UN Member States and with other non-governmental stakeholders. The use of nuclear or biological weapons by non-State actors, particularly terrorists, would indeed be catastrophic. Unfortunately, the OPCW has already concluded that a non-state actor has used chemical weapons in Iraq, and the Joint Investigative Mechanism has attributed to Da’esh at least one chemical weapon attack in Syria. This is completely unacceptable. But working together, we can succeed in preventing the worst case scenario from happening.
  2. Thank you for your attention.

* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.