In 2004, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1540, the central international tool to prevent terrorism with Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). In spite of the resolution's strong mandate, its implementation body, the 1540 Committee, has remained weak in terms of enforcement powers, budget allocation and human resources. This article addresses this gap between mandate and implementation capacity. It examines specifically how the 1540 Committee has tried to overcome its structural constraints to achieve its objectives. This has led to two important findings: first, building upon theoretical insights from the management of regime complexes, the article shows that the 1540 Committee has resorted to the orchestration of intermediary actors in the form of other international organizations belonging to the so‐called WMD terrorism regime complex. This demonstrates that – contrary to what the current literature suggests – orchestration is used on a large scale in high profile cases of international security. Second, the analysis of the performance of the process of orchestration reveals significant variation. While a large number of intermediary actors have integrated the provisions of Resolution 1540 in their own agendas, the coordination of these actors by the 1540 Committee has remained largely ad hoc and lacked the systematic exchange of relevant information.
- Orchestration, i.e. the strategic use of intermediary actors to implement an international organization's objectives, is an important policy tool for under‐resourced institutions in matters of international security, including the United Nations Security Council.
- Regime complexes with their numerous international institutions with overlapping mandates and membership offer an ample pool of potential intermediary actors for under‐resourced institutions.
- As part of the upcoming comprehensive review of Resolution 1540, the members of the Security Council should increase the resources of the 1540 Committee to improve its ability to orchestrate relevant international organizations.
- As part of the review process, the Security Council should also empower the 1540 Committee to receive and analyze more relevant information from other international organizations.
- The Security Council should facilitate and support more explicitly the collaboration between the 1540 Committee and relevant nongovernmental organizations.
- The 1540 Committee should adopt a more strategic approach to orchestration and coordinate the activities of intermediary actors in a more systematic and comprehensive way.
- The 1540 Committee should facilitate in particular the interaction and coordination among the intermediary actors themselves, e.g. by organizing multi‐institutional conferences on a regular basis.
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