On 23-24 March 2015, UNLIREC convened a two-day workshop within the context of its assistance package for Caribbean States on the Implementation of Resolution 1540(2004). This package, currently funded by the United States Department of State, targets five countries: Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Discussions focused on national implementation experiences, particularly on strategic trade controls and related policies and legislation, as well as on the creation of control lists, industry engagement, border controls, issues relating to proliferation financing and national action plans. States also had the opportunity to provide feedback on cooperation with UNLIREC, share experiences, and exchange ideas on possible measures to be taken in order to effectively implement the resolution.

Officials stressed the importance of implementing strategic trade controls in order to ensure that the region´s vulnerabilities are not leveraged for proliferation purposes. Discussion also revolved around the implementation of an effective legislative and regulatory framework which would establish not only an effective licensing system, but also the requisite control lists for related materials.

UNLIREC adopted a different approach for the workshop, encouraging a non-traditional format, whereby focus was placed on open dialogue, practical exercises, and exchange of ideas. As a result, the meeting allowed for active engagement with Member States, as well as with technical implementing partners and academia.

Special mention was made by one of the representatives of the Group of Experts that, on 20 March 2015, Grenada formally submitted its voluntary national action plan to the 1540 Committee making it the first Caribbean State to submit a plan of this nature. During the workshop, States acknowledged the utility of a voluntary national action plan as a key tool through which governments could establish priorities in order to effectively implement the obligations under the resolution. Presentations were delivered by the delegations of Colombia, Grenada and Mexico informing participants of the process that was followed to prepare their respective national action plans as well as the main priorities and principles that were included.

The workshop was the culmination of fifteen months of ongoing consultations with Member States and brought together both technical partners and government officials with whom the Centre has interacted over the past months. Representatives from Belize, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as from the Group of Experts assisting the 1540 Committee, the Department of Energy’s Argonne Laboratory, CARICOM, the Center of International Trade and Security (University of Georgia), the International Maritime Organization, the Organization of American States, the Stimson Center, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, private law practice Wilmer Hale, the US Department of State and VERTIC were all present during the two-day meeting.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms. Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at (cowl@unlirec.org).