Chapter VIII of the UN Charter clearly looks upon interstate regional arrangements and agencies as institutions that can alleviate the task of the UN Security Council to maintain international peace and security. Bodies like the Organization of American States, Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the African Union are cases in point, but also – in the field of nonproliferation – nuclear weapon free zone arrangements.
In this study Johan Bergenas of the Stimson Center shows ably how regional organizations, notably the Gulf Cooperation Council and the League of Arab States, can help both to prevent further nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and to facilitate cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Being close to the governments in the region and with an understanding of how trade flows in and through it, these organizations can assist in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 that obliges their members to enact and enforce trade restrictions designed to prevent nuclear proliferation. With knowledge of legislation in the region they can also help to draft national laws criminalizing acts and activities that aim at or further nuclear proliferation.
Bergenas’ study reflects the ongoing work of Stimson’s Managing Across Boundaries program that successfully engages both public and private sector actors to combat proliferation and transnational security threats. In examining the role that regional organizations can play in nuclear nonproliferation, Bergenas contributes a very special perspective that is a welcomed addition in the vast literature on nonproliferation.