- Armament and disarmament
- Conflict, peace and security
- Peace and development
II. Developments in the multilateral export control regimes
III. The Australia Group
IV. The impact of European Union enlargement on supply-side measures
During the 1990s multilateral discussions influenced and guided nations in the process of revising national export controls. These controls are intended to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons, as well as delivery systems for these weapons, and to minimize the risk that transfers of conventional weapons and related dual-use items may undermine security. Cooperation helped many states to improve their national export control systems and enhanced the effectiveness of the wider non-proliferation regime.
In 2002 two interrelated discussions increased the political salience of export controls. First, discussions continued over how to increase the effectiveness of counter-terrorism measures. Second, the role of export controls in managing weapon programmes of concern was further discussed.
Illustrating the impact of combating terrorism, the Australia Group, previously the loosest of the multilateral arrangements, agreed a set of licensing guidelines including a ‘catch-all’ provision (the first time that a multilateral regime had taken such a step) and a commitment to control the intangible transfer of knowledge and technology. The strengthened guidelines adopted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in December 2002 were an example of adaptation in response to the threat of terrorism.
The second issue is familiar within export control and has been the subject of discussions for the past decade. In this case it is more a question of greater political awareness of developments. Members and representatives of the multilateral cooperation arrangements are spending a greater share of their time on explaining their activities to a wider group of states with which they may be able to develop cooperation, and beginning to consider how the legislation developed during the 1990s can be implemented and enforced effectively.
The boundaries between domestic and international dimensions of security as well as between the military and non-military aspects of security have become increasingly difficult to draw within the European Union. EU reform and the enlargement of membership are changing the context in which these changes are considered. While the EU is progressively developing a distinctive approach to security policy, including in the area of non-proliferation and export control, this approach is more the product of uncoordinated decisions, each following its own logic, than the pursuit of a coherent plan. Current developments suggest the need for a review of EU approaches to managing non-proliferation and implementing export controls.
The enlargement of the EU is a further step towards developing what Javier Solana has called ‘a safe haven of democracy and peace’, in which differences are resolved peacefully within agreed institutional structures.
While free association within the EU is one benefit of integration, the free movement of goods and people also carries certain risks. Realizing the benefit depends on developing and implementing common approaches to managing these risks. A short-term challenge to the development of this safe haven is the presence of groups that may commit terrorist acts within the borders of the EU or exploit EU territory to prepare and finance such actions elsewhere.
The EU has facilitated wider changes in export control. In recent years candidate countries have worked to modify their national export control systems in ways that make them compatible with EU rules for both dual-use items and conventional arms. Those countries that will be the new neighbours of an enlarged EU include Belarus, Ukraine and countries in South-Eastern Europe that could already benefit from discussions about how EU export controls function.
The catch-all provisions included in the guidelines for exports of sensitive chemical or biological items introduced by the Australia Group in 2002 might not have been introduced had they not already been part of EU law. After enlargement, about 70% of the participants in the multilateral export control regimes will be subject to a common EU legal framework. As this framework evolves, it may influence further regime development and the national policies of countries that interact with but do not participate in informal multilateral export control.
The international community has devoted increased attention in recent years to the question of the proliferation of ballistic missiles. Several initiatives have been launched to investigate how best to address the issue. One such initiative was brought to fruition in November 2002 when over 90 states declared their readiness to subscribe to the International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. However, this can only be described as a partial success as several states with missile development programmes decided not to join the initiative.
Dr Ian Anthony (United Kingdom) is SIPRI Research Coordinator and the Leader of the SIPRI Internet Database on European Export Controls Project. In 1992–98 he was Leader of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Project. His most recent publication for SIPRI is A Future Arms Control Agenda: Proceedings of Nobel Symposium 118, 1999 (2001), for which he is co-editor (with Adam Daniel Rotfeld). He is also editor of the SIPRI volumes Russia and the Arms Trade (1998), Arms Export Regulations (1991) and SIPRI Research Report no. 7, The Future of Defence Industries in Central and Eastern Europe (1994), and author of The Naval Arms Trade (SIPRI, 1990) and The Arms Trade and Medium Powers: Case Studies of India and Pakistan 1947–90 (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992). He has written or co-authored chapters for the SIPRI Yearbook since 1988.
Dr Christer Ahlström (Sweden) assumed the post of Deputy Director of SIPRI in August 2002. Previously he served as a Deputy Director in the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs on issues related to disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.