event BI

Asan Nuclear Forum

Non-State Stakeholders in Preventing WMD Proliferations

Session: Grand Ballroom 1
Date/Time: February 20, 2013 / 15:30-16:45

Moderator: Gabriele Kraatz-Wadsack, United Nations


Togzhan Kassenova, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Lv Xiaodong, United Nations
Shin Chang-Hoon, The Asan Institute for Policy Studies

Rapporteur: Natalia Sharova, Hudson Institute

Session Sketch

Gabriele Kraatz-Wadsack, chief of the weapons of mass destruction branch in the office for disarmament affairs at the United Nations, opened the session by reminding the audience of the importance of Resolution 1540 that obliges all states to refrain from any assistance to non-state actors in developing or acquiring weapons of mass distraction (WMD), means of their delivery and related materials. She emphasized that according to the resolution, the main responsibility for its implementation lies on the Member States, and that the effectiveness of Resolution 1540 depends on the degree of their commitment.

Togzhan Kassenova, associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, made several points during her presentation, emphasizing industry’s role in WMD nonproliferation. Industry knows specifics of their products and market, and can easily identify a suspicious order. Thus, experts and policymakers should rely on industry’s knowledge while drafting laws regarding WMD proliferation control. Dr. Kassenova also noted that industry has no reason to proliferate materials for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, since it harms a company’s reputation. It is in industry’s interest to comply with nonproliferation criteria. However, to implement proliferation controls, industry has to spend a vast amount of their own resources, constantly check export control norms of their trading partner countries and so on. To mitigate those challenges and to deepen industry’s role in nonproliferation, states should establish open communication channels between governments and industries, and offer guaranteed benefits to companies that contribute to the WMD nonproliferation process.

Lv Xiaodong, member of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 Committee, noted that Resolution 1540, adopted by the United Nations Security Council, is the main binding instrument that addresses the threat posed by non-state actors aiming to acquire WMD, especially by terrorist groups. Dr. Lv emphasized that the Resolution 1540 helps to bring together various non-state stakeholders, including national, regional and subregional organizations. Such cooperation greatly contributes to the Member States efforts to implement the resolution’s key requirements and should be expanded further. Dr. Lv also noted the tremendous role of the civil society, and stressed that the successful implementation of the Resolution 1540 will continue to depend on regional, civil society and industry’s efforts.

Shin Chang-Hoon, director of the Nuclear Technology and Policy Center at the the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, made two points. First, he accentuated that civil society’s role should be no exception regarding nonproliferation and ought to be expanded. The public awareness about non-state actors aiming to acquire biological, chemical or nuclear weapons is an instrument capable of preventing proliferation of deadly weapons and dual-use materials necessary for its production. Also, he agreed with the other panelists that the United Nations resolution 1540 is a unique supplement to the NPT since it includes prohibition of dual-use materials and means of WMD delivery.

In his second point Dr. Shin mentioned importance of a regional approach in Northeast Asia and in the ASEAN countries. He pointed out that Northeast Asian civil society is lacking relevant knowledge regarding WMD, and that nonproliferation issues should be somehow included in the education system. Dr. Shin also noted that there was not enough attention to chemical and biological weapons, and that possibly international summits like NSS are required in order to attract public attention to the issue.