S/RES/1977 follows the line of the previous resolutions that renewed the 1540 Committee mandate and also S/RES/1540 itself. There is the same reaffirmation that proliferation is a threat to international peace and security and it is also acting under Chapter VII. It is followed by the threat of appropriate and effective actions in accordance to the UN Charter, while reaffirming that peaceful pursuits of material related to WMDs should still take place and the consideration that the obligations of these resolutions do not alter the obligations under previous multilateral treaties that address the same issue areas. There is a stress on the need for all Member States to comply to their already established obligations under international commitments related to arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. A clause that only tries to call attention to the previous commitments, including their own resolutions and efforts. There a different clause in the preamble stating the concern of the Council when it comes to the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and its means of delivery by non state actors, in association with terrorism. This is one of the most explicit time that the linkage between the non-proliferation efforts and terrorism is made in the resolutions related to S/RES/1540. The preamble also passes by the issues of international cooperation and coordination as means to halt challenges such as illicit trafficking and established legislation related to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
There is also clauses that praise the work being developed by the 1540 Committee and its adherence to the programmes of work that they had established for themselves between the 2008 and this resolution. It also recognizes that there has been progress made by the States to implement S/RES/1540 in spite of this being uneven, as they describe. It is interesting that it endorses “the valuable activities of the 1540 Committee with relevant international regional and subregional organizations,” without naming them in the course of the resolution. In terms of setting the groundwork for another renewal of the mandate of the Committee; it again stresses that the implementation of S/RES/1540 is a long-term task that requires continuous efforts; points out once more that not all States that submitted their initial reports, now overdue almost seven years; it recognizes the efforts being developed by the Committee in terms of advancing direct contact among interested parties and between parties capable of providing assistance and those in need; it calls to enhanced assistance and collaboration towards the 1540 Committee. After this groundwork, it calls attention to the works of the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit as an important element in the implementation of S/RES/1540 and endorses the 2009 review of the Committee on its work.
In the operative clauses, there is the renewal of the mandate of the 1540 Committee for ten years until April 25th, 2021, parting from two years given in 2006 and the three years given in 2008. This trust from the Council is attached to two five year reviews of the mandate and the implementation of S/RES/1540, one before December 2016 and another prior to the 2021 deadline of the mandate. To enhance the accountability of the Committee towards the Council, the requirement of submitting annual programmes of work continues and is to be submitted before each May. This time the new life breathed into a two-year-long mandate turned seven is an additional ten years to execute its long-term tasks. In order to execute their tasks, the 1540 Committee will have a group of experts that were first mentioned in S/RES/1810. In S/RES/1977 they become a group of up to eight experts to be recommended to the Council no later than August 31, 2011, in accordance to the several criteria established under operative clause 5(b), which include broad geographic representation.
After creating the form of the group of experts, there are the calls that are becoming customary for States to present their first report in 2004, the additional information required in 2006 and the implementation action plans required in 2008. The constant call for information already required shows a lack of commitment of the States with the 1540 Committee or the lack of true enforcement mechanisms at the disposition of the Committee. The remainder of the implementation section of the resolution discuss the importance of the active engagement of the international community, be it States or other organizations in the advancing the elements of S/RES/1540. The section of assistance deals mainly the role of middle man that was envisioned for the 1540 Committee in the 2008 expansion of the mandate. As such it discuss and encourages the usage of point of contact for each interested party in the Committee, the role of facilitator that the Committee should adopt when it comes to technical assistance, the encourages meeting to take place under their aegis to advance the role of middle man. In the section “Cooperation with International, Regional, and Subregional Organizations”, it calls for international, regional and subregional organizations to have a point of contact at the Committee and to work with them for enhanced cooperation and information sharing in the molds of the call made towards the States. It also reiterates the importance of cooperation among the committees under the Security Council, the very clause that first appeared in 2008.
The section “Transparency and Outreach” discuss mainly the importance of transparency in the dealings of the Committee, regarding openness and publicity of the meeting held by them, also in terms of the availability of the documents online. When it comes to outreach, it just reinforces the continuation of the realization of outreach efforts by the Committee towards States and international organizations. The section “Administration and Resources” includes an interesting endorsement of the support from the Office for Disarmament Affairs of the work of the 1540 Committee and calls for a report on the possibility of strengthening these support by January 2012. For this reason, it calls on the State to provide resources for this Office be it in the form of financial support or cost-free training; it calls also on voluntary financial contribution to address needs for the implementation of S/RES/1540. There is also a concern on maintaining the expertise in terms of having enough financial leverage to keep them at the disposal of the Committee. After these points, they decide to remain seized of the matter.
There are three interesting points that emerge from this resolution, mainly when seen in the context of S/RES/1540, S/RES/1673 and S/RES/1810.Firstly, you have a large temporal extension of the mandate. The work of the 1540 Committee was supposed to be a two year effort as put forward by S/RES/1540, nonetheless it has been now extended until 2021, when it will mark its seventeenth birthday. This might have two distinct causes both of which are worth considering. One is that the initial mandate completely underestimated the length and complexity of the work. The other is that they might have consistently expanded their mandate to a point that what might have been a simple task started to encompass many different issues that might or might be crucial to the mandate. These two elements come into light from S/RES/1977 and should be assessed carefully by the members of the Security Council with an interest in non-proliferation efforts. The last point that emerges from this resolution is the call for more resources. Even tough it was first mentioned in S/RES/1810, it got a stronger call on S/RES/1977. This necessity should serve as an alert to the members of the Security Council to truly assess the need for the Committee and the areas in which it might overlap with the work developed under multilateral treaties. All in all, the work of the 1540 Committee should be under the microscope due to its constant renew and increments of their mandate since its inception.