The United Nations Common House in Lima, Peru, is the site of a Regional Encounter to discuss preventing and combating the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from a Latin American and Caribbean perspective from 25-26 April 2017. 22 States from the region and six partner organizations joined in this open debate organized by the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the Organization of American States (OAS) through the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE).

The main theme guiding this two-day event is the effective implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) on preventing and combating the proliferation of WMDs by non-State actors. Resolution 1540 calls on States to refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, posses, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery.

While State representatives are provided with a platform to share successful experiences and exchange essential information on 1540 implementation, dialogue delved into practical – yet crucial – elements outlined in UNSCR 1540, such as the need to enhance border and export controls and bolster normative frameworks to better protect States against proliferation offences. By enforcing these practical measures to establish domestic controls to prevent WMD proliferation and their means of delivery, States will come into closer compliance with key provisions of the resolution and thus boost 1540 implementation from both a national and regional perspective.

Making the most of the ‘regional’ scope of this event, UNLIREC and OAS/CICTE led exploratory dialogue on establishing common ‘regional’ positions on, for instance, Strategic Trade Legislation (STL) to control the export of sensitive technology and materials in order to combat terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and the spread of WMDs. As well, this regional platform was used to launch a much-awaited UNLIREC-developed Control List. This List encompasses all of the items from the main strategic trade control regimes, while – at the same time – is capable of being modified to meet the specific needs or interests of any implementing State. For example, a State may wish to tailor the List to reflect their own domestic industries or particular trade patterns and thus have applications across the entire region.

This collaborative event is financed in its entirety by the Government of Canada and forms part of a wider UNLIREC Programme aimed at supporting State implementation of UNSCR 1540 (2004) and an OAS/CICTE 1540 Programme. UNLIREC and OAS/CICTE are long-standing partners committed to supporting States and providing them with the tools and capacity they need to address pressing peace- and security-related challenges facing the citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean.