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UNSCR 1540 Implementation

September 3, 2018

With the goal of preventing non-state actors from developing or acquiring weapons of mass destruction, United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540, enacted in 2004, requires countries to maintain “appropriate effective measures” to account for, secure, and provide physical protection for nuclear weapons and materials—even if a country has not declared nuclear materials within its borders. National efforts to implement the resolution are tracked through reporting to the United Nations’ 1540 committee. The results were first published in 2009 and again in 2016.

Since the 2016 NTI Index, national reporting indicates that a number of countries have improved the extent of their UNSCR 1540 implementation, resulting in score increases in the NTI Index.[1] Ten countries with weapons-usable materials improved their scores.[2] Among countries ranked in the 2018 NTI Index’s Sabotage Ranking, 29 improved their scores.[3] Overall, 79 countries improved their enforcement agencies and authorities in an effort to control border crossings and the export and import of nuclear weapons-related materials. A full 76 countries improved their controls of importation of nuclear weapons-related materials. This uptick in UNSCR 1540 reporting highlights national level commitments to nuclear security.

UN Security Council in session. Photo courtesy of the United Nations.


[1] The United Nations 1540 Committee approves matrices submitted by national governments to affirm enactment of legal regimes and enforcement of the 1540 Resolution. The Committee approved a host of matrices shortly after research was completed for the NTI Index that was published in 2016, thus contributing to the high number of score increases between the 2016 and 2018 NTI Indices. More information on the methodology of this analysis can be found in the EIU Methodology/How the Index Works.

[2] Belarus, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, and Russia. Among the 22 countries with nuclear weapons-usable materials, only four do not score “very good” according to the EIU’s categorization of the extent of the country’s UNSCR 1540 implementation: Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, and North Korea.

[3] According to the 2018 NTI Index’s Sabotage Ranking, the following countries received improved scores for the extent of their UNSCR 1540 implementation: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. All countries received a rating of “very good” except Bangladesh (which the EIU rates as “good”) and Iran (which the EIU rates as “moderate”).