Nuclear Weapons | Other Publication

Southern Flows: WMD Nonproliferation in the Developing World

March 2014


In 2004, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1540. Its goal was to prevent the terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) through mandatory adoption of global supply-side controls over sensitive materials, technologies, and know-how. After several years, however, it became clear that the resolution’s implementation was lagging in important regions, particularly in the Global South.

For developed countries, terrorism—particularly involving the use of WMD—is a high-priority threat. But for many countries in the developing world, other issues such as poverty, disease, illicit arms trafficking, and lack of access to education are far more immediate concerns that rightly take precedence. Reconciling these differences in threat priorities became imperative in order to assure the successful implementation of Resolution 1540 worldwide.

In response to the challenges posed by this artificial divide between security and development, Stimson and the Stanley Center launched an initiative that explored the methods by which governments, civil society, and industry could integrate the priorities of developing world governments with the Resolution 1540 mandate.

This volume synthesizes our seven-year endeavor, which involved extensive research, field workshops and interviews, and assessments in six regions of the Global South. It assesses the successes and the challenges of our “whole of society” approach to implementing Resolution 1540 through the eyes of experts in the Caribbean, Central America, the Andean region, the Middle East, Eastern Africa, and Southeast Asia.