Explanation of Vote Following the Adoption of a UN Security Council Resolution Renewing the Mandate of the 1540 Committee

Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
November 30, 2022


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Ambassador de la Fuente, for your superb leadership of the 1540 Committee these past two years, and for your constructive and collaborative work on this resolution. Your tenure serves as an example to future Chairs of the Council’s subsidiary bodies.

Mr. President, the United States voted in favor of this resolution, which more than any other in the Security Council’s remit seeks to address the existential threat of non-state actors potentially acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction. And so we also welcome today’s unanimous renewal of the 1540 Committee’s mandate for another 10 years. The Committee remains a critical tool for addressing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.

Importantly, this resolution emphasizes the central role of the 1540 Committee’s Group of Experts, comprised of exceedingly talented, independent experts in the substantive and technical fields relevant to the work of the 1540 Committee, who monitor and support the implementation of Resolution 1540 and its successor resolutions, and assist Member States in strengthening their implementation of Resolution 1540, consistent with their obligations.

With this new mandate, this Council reaffirms the importance of transparency and accountability in the work of its subsidiary bodies by increasing the Committee’s interactions with all relevant stakeholders – including civil society, industry, and academia – and making available technical information resources that Member States may find useful in their efforts to implement Resolution 1540.

While we are pleased with today’s unanimous adoption of this resolution, we were disappointed that one Council member blocked efforts to make the work of the 1540 Committee more efficient and effective. Elements proposed by the chair in the course of this resolution’s drafting would have given the Committee and its Group of Experts the tools they need to support Member States more equitably, consistently, and promptly, in combatting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, to and by non-state actors.

However, we were pleased to note that, thanks to the strong efforts of the chair, the resolution adopted today calls upon the Committee to review its guidelines, a review process we hope will lead to the very enhancements to the Committee’s work that we had hoped to see in the resolution itself.

And with regard to those Committee members from whom we see recalcitrance and cynicism, we very much hope that future generations of stewardship of Resolution 1540 and the 1540 Committee grow more agile, and more visionary. We hope that they can guide the Committee toward the most effective possible disposition and capability in addressing this gravest of threats.

Today, this Council unanimously voted in favor of a more effective, more transparent, and more accountable 1540 Committee, which will continue to support Member States in their efforts to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to and by non-state actors for another 10 years. This success was not pre-ordained; it is due to the dedication and hard work of the majority of the members of this Council, and to the steadfast and exemplary work of the Chair of the 1540 Committee. We are very grateful for these efforts. The stakes could not be higher.

Thank you, Mr. President.