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UNSCR 1540 Compass - April 2024

"This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) (UNSCR 1540), a key pillar of the international security landscape and non-proliferation architecture. When it was adopted in 2004, the resolution formed part of the collective, international response in the face of Abdul Qadeer Khan’s nuclear proliferation network and a growing number of terrorist attacks. It aimed to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and their means of delivery by non-State actors.

Today, with rising political instability and global insecurities, the threat of violent non-State actors – especially terrorists and organized criminal syndicates –, acquiring and using nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as their related materials, remains of significant concern. As a result, this landmark resolution continues to play a pivotal role in safeguarding international peace and security.

UNICRI – one of the six specialized research and training institutes of the United Nations – is mandated to advance understanding of crime-related problems, foster just and efficient criminal justice systems, support respect for international standards, and facilitate international law enforcement cooperation and judicial assistance. In line with its mandate, UNICRI contributes to global efforts to reduce the risk posed by WMDs through the wide range of action-oriented research and needs-based initiatives that it implements.

It is within this context that I am delighted, as the Acting Director of UNICRI, to introduce this inaugural issue of the 1540 Compass. This new e-journal comprises one of the ways in which the Institute is committed to advancing the objectives of UNSCR 1540 and bolstering the global non-proliferation framework. The publication aims to shed light on the impact, challenges and INTRO 9 opportunities of UNSCR 1540, as well as the work of the 1540 Committee. It also seeks to establish a dynamic platform for international dialogue and knowledge exchange among Member States, experts, practitioners, and organizations involved in implementing UNSCR 1540. Moreover, it will enable us to stay abreast of emerging trends, threats and risks. I trust that it will generate informed discussions and actionable insights that can help us forge better collective understanding of the field of non-proliferation as it stands today.

I extend my sincere gratitude to all contributors, readers, supporters and of course the 1540 Compass editorial team for this shared commitment to advancing the objectives of UNSCR 1540."

Leif Villadsen Acting Director, UNICRI


Download the first issue here

Articles in Issue 1

About 1540 Compass

The 1540 Compass is an e-journal published by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) that is dedicated to advancing the objectives, awareness and implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) (UNSCR 1540) and its successor resolutions. The journal aims to be a trusted source of knowledge, analysis, and dialogue for countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and their means of delivery by non-State actors.

Adopted unanimously on 28 April 2004, UNSCR 1540 stands as a cornerstone in global efforts to safeguard international peace and security. However, the challenges inherent in comprehending, implementing, and adapting to its provisions persist. Recognizing this knowledge gap, UNICRI is proudly re-launching the 1540 Compass. We aim to foster a space for robust knowledge exchange, insightful analysis, and meaningful dialogue among Member States, academic experts, policymakers, practitioners and followers of everything resolution 1540 related. By addressing knowledge gaps, sharing best practices, and nurturing discussion, the UNSCR 1540 e-journal promises to contribute to global efforts to counter the grave threat of WMD proliferation and reinforce international peace and security.

In the words of Francesco Marelli, Editor-in-Chief, “The 1540 Compass promises to be a platform for everybody, and we encourage all stakeholders involved in non-proliferation to leverage it. The success of the 1540 Compass lies in the widest participation of us all.” 

If you would like to contribute an article, interview, opinion piece, case study, news item or event notification for publication, please see the most recent call for contributions for more details click here.


Thanks to the generous financial support of the US Department of State, UNICRI relaunched the 1540 Compass in April 2024 in an online format. The 1540 Compass was originally launched in 2012 by the Center for International Trade and Security (CITS) at the University of Georgia in hard copy format.

Under the initial direction of Dr Igor Khripunov, and in cooperation with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, the 1540 Compass was designed to provide an accessible forum on the effective implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1540. Back issues of the 1540 Compass can be found at the following link.