Factsheet: United Nation Security Council Resolution 1540(2004)

Apr 19, 2011


Resolution 1540 (2004) is a decision of the Security Council taken under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter 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. The resolution is significant as a binding instrument to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery with respect to the activities of non-State actors. In particular, the resolution adds illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, their means of delivery and related materials, as a new dimension of proliferation, and recognizes the nexus of proliferation, the threat of terrorism and the risk that non-State actors might acquire such weapons or related materials.

What does Resolution 1540 (2004) require?

The resolution obliges 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 or biological weapons and their means of delivery. In accordance with their national procedures, States should adopt and enforce appropriate effective laws that prohibit any non-State actor from undertaking such activities, in particular for terrorist purposes, as well as attempts to engage in any of the foregoing activities, participate in them as an accomplice, assist or finance them.


The resolution also requires States to take and enforce effective measures to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons and their means of delivery, including by establishing appropriate measures over related materials in the areas of accounting/securing, physical protection, border control and law enforcement efforts to detect, deter, prevent and combat the illicit trafficking in such items and establish  export and trans-shipment controls.


The Committee

The 1540 Committee serves as a subsidiary body of the UN Security Council, composed of the fifteen member States of the Security Council. The mandate and scope of activities of the 1540 Committee are derived from resolution 1540 (2004) and subsequent resolutions.  The 1540 Committee seeks to promote full implementation of the resolution with the support of experts, in cooperation with Member States, intergovernmental and regional organizations and with the support of civil society, as appropriate.



The 1540 Committee seeks to promote implementation of the resolution by States through dialogue, outreach, assistance and cooperation. It uses several tools and methods in these efforts, including the 1540 Committee examination of the matrix, an assistance template, the Committee website, regional workshops and thematic discussions relevant for the implementation of the resolution.  The 1540 Committee matrix is an important tool for the 1540 Committee in monitoring the status of implementation of the resolution, which organizes in a systematic and comprehensive way what measures States have taken or plan to take relevant to their obligations under the resolution.  In the process of implementation States may contact the 1540 Committee and its experts for dialogue.



In resolution 1540 (2004), the UN Security Council recognizes that some States may require assistance in implementing the resolution, and invites States to offer such assistance in response to requests. The 1540 Committee itself offers States technical expertise in drafting their reports to the Committee, in preparing assistance requests, and in implementation planning. The Committee functions as a clearing house by engaging actively in matching offers and requests for assistance involving Member States and intergovernmental organizations.   Requests and offers are available on the 1540 Committee website.



International, regional and sub-regional organizations, particularly those in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), can play a vital role in assisting their member States to implement resolution 1540 (2004)  through their respective programmes. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention-Implementation Support Unit (BWC-ISU) are important partners in this regard.


The 1540 Committee has also built working relationships with other relevant international and regional organizations and will continue to deepen these relationships through, inter alia, creating more formal and informal cooperative arrangements to facilitate the sharing of information on good practices and lessons learned, development and implementation of standards, and identification of assistance requirements and programmes.



The Committee is engaged in various types of outreach activities to promote full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), sharing of experiences and lessons learned, capacity building and technical assistance in the areas covered by the resolution. This includes seminars and workshops organized by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, conferences and workshops by other UN bodies or by Member States in cooperation with the 1540 Committee, relevant international, regional, sub-regional or country-specific meetings in which the Committee’s members and its experts participate. In 2009, the Committee held a comprehensive review of the status of implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), which included open meetings and which also addressed the evolution of risks and threats, specific critical issues, and possible new approaches for implementation of the resolution.


For further information see the 1540 Committee web site at www.un.org/sc/1540.

Points of Contact 

Official correspondence should be addressed to the Chairman of the 1540 Committee:

Attention:  Chairman, 1540 Committee

730 Third Avenue, TB-08040E

United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA

Fax:  +1 212-963-1300

Email:  un%27%org,sc-1540-Committee


In addition, the 1540 Committee Experts can be reached at:

Attention:  Coordinator, 1540 Committee Experts Group

300 East 42nd Street, 3rd Floor, IN-03089A

United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA

Fax: + 1 917 369 9358

© GermanyUN