Regional approach to weapons of mass destruction
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday May 4, 2011 – CARICOM has developed a strategic regional approach for the implementation of a United Nations Security Council resolution that has been recognised as a model for preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) within the hemisphere and beyond.
UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540), which was adopted in April 2004, mandates all Member States under Chapter V11 of the United Nations Charter to, among other things, prohibit support to non-State actors seeking to acquire materials and technology that could be used in the production of WMD; adopt and enforce effective laws prohibiting the proliferation of such items to non-State actors; and control the provision of funds and services that contribute to their increase.
In pursuit of their obligations under the UNSCR 1540, CARICOM Member States are required to implement effective border controls and comprehensive national export controls; develop appropriate control lists; and incorporate these prohibitions on the trade in strategic goods into domestic laws.
A coordinated cooperative approach has been facilitated by the CARICOM UNSCR 1540 Implementation Initiative Committee, headed by Regional Coordinator, O’Neil Hamilton.
In a presentation at a Meeting of Officials Preparatory to the 14th Meeting of the Council on Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), Hamilton said that this approach involving CARICOM Member States moving together to implement non-proliferation of WMD was a “new and novel” initiative.
“CARICOM has provided a model for the international community,” he stated.
Hamilton said that in the search for ways of addressing the capacity and resource challenges Member States faced, the Committee considered the Regional Security Plan that had been formulated for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
The Regional Security Plan, which was adopted by CARICOM Heads of Government at the Eighteenth Intercessional Meeting in February 2007, enabled small independent states of CARICOM to pool law enforcement and military resources for the successful and secure execution of the Cricket World Cup in the region.
Hamilton said that two sets of Regional Threat Assessments in July 2006 and January 2007, which had been done in the run up to the Cricket World Cup, acquainted policymakers and regional security experts with the reality of the increasing and significant vulnerability of the region from external threats. He added that those assessments underscored the capacity of terrorists to compromise the safety and security of small developing states like those of CARICOM.
As a result, efforts have intensified in boosting Member States’ capacity in areas such as commodity identification to detect materials used in legitimate commercial activities that could also be use in the proliferation of WMD.
“No region is without risk in this regard. CARICOM has to be very vigilant and be equipped to address these vulnerabilities,” Hamilton said.
He said that CARICOM was also forging ahead with the development of a Reference Legal Framework (RLF) to assist Member States in instituting controls that will also target potential illicit transfers and enable eventual interdiction, investigation and prosecution.
As part of the collective implementation of the UNSCR 1540, Hamilton said that a regional “gap analysis” that will inform the RLF was in train. The Gap Analysis encompasses a close inspection of all laws and regulations concerning trade and security in all CARICOM Member States. It also assesses the extent to which laws and regulations cover the areas required under the UNSCR 1540 in order to make relevant recommendations for parliamentary or administrative action.
Hamilton said that the ongoing activities towards the implementation of UNSCR 1540 were not being done in isolation, but they were multi-dimensional and complementary to other initiatives against activities that pose a security threat to the region, particularly the trade in illicit drugs and small arms.
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