n Institute for Security Studies Papers - African perspectives on countering weapons of mass destruction

Volume 2008, Issue 167
  • ISSN : 1026-0404



On 28 April 2004, the United Nations' Security Council adopted Resolution 1540 at its 4956th meeting. It was the first formal decision by the Security Council, affirming that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security. Th e resolution, with extended mandates through Resolution 1673 (until April 2006) and Resolution 1810 (until April 2011), imposes binding obligations on all states to refrain from providing any form of support to non-state actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery. The resolution thus aims at denying non-state actors access to the means (nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons) by which a terrorist act could be conducted. All states are thus required to adopt and enforce domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of such weapons. This paper assesses African attitudes towards Resolution 1540 as well as the challenges to, and progress made in, its implementation.

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