UNU Addresses UN Security Council on Role of Academia in Non-Proliferation of WMDs by Non-State Actors

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  • 2017•01•23     New York

    On 15 December 2016, Ms Julia Blocher — Research & Communications Officer at the UNU Office at the United Nations — presented remarks to the UN Security Council on behalf of UNU Rector and UN Under-Secretary-General David M. Malone. The occasion was a Security Council open debate on “Preventing catastrophe: A global agenda for stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors”.

    Following the debate, the Security Council, presided by Mr. Alfonso Dastis, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain (which held the Presidency of the Council during December 2016), unanimously adopted Resolution 2325 (2016). The Security Council called on all States to strengthen national anti-proliferation regimes in implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) — which seeks to keep non-State actors from acquiring nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons of mass destruction — and to submit timely reports on their efforts.

    UNU was invited to participate in the debate in light of the role that it played in contributing to the Comprehensive Review of Resolution 1540 by organising, in cooperation with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, a formal dialogue between the 1540 Committee, academia, and civil society in April 2016. That dialogue reaffirmed the importance of academia and civil society in the implementation of Resolution 1540.

    Consequently Ms Blocher, in her remarks to the Council, focused on the role of academia in addressing “one of the most pressing security challenges of our time”.

    “Academia has a special role to play in assisting Member States … in strengthening the UN’s response to this threat”, she said in the UNU statement. “The worldwide academic community has undertaken significant research in the physical sciences and has helped to disseminate technical knowledge, skills, and data. It can also help by identifying areas of vulnerability and devising recommendations on how to adjust response mechanisms.”

    Ms Blocher concluded by calling on UN Member States and the Security Council to avail themselves of the resources provided by academic partners to promote transparency and raise awareness on Resolution 1540’s purpose and content, as well as states’ ensuing obligations.

    Encouragingly, the Council, in Resolution 2325, calls for greater assistance for building State capacity in the resolution’s implementation, including through voluntary contributions, and for greater cooperation among all stakeholders, including civil society, and academia.

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    UNU’s April 2016 Resolution 1540 Civil Society Forum was led by Dr Wilfred Wan, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and United Nations University (JSPS-UNU) postdoctoral fellow. Dr Wan will publish a book on regional pathways to non-proliferation and disarmament in the coming months.