CH53G helicopters were provided to UNSCOM by the German Bundeswehr. The Commission's inspection teams needed rapid transport within Iraq, particularly for no-notice inspections and aerial surveillance. (Henry Arvidsson / UNSCOM)

How countries can build on UNSCOM’s legacy to solve today’s problems

By Ioan Tudor, July 21, 2021

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CH53G helicopters were provided to UNSCOM by the German Bundeswehr. The Commission's inspection teams needed rapid transport within Iraq, particularly for no-notice inspections and aerial surveillance. (Henry Arvidsson / UNSCOM)

Although the work of UNSCOM came to an end in December 1999, when the Security Council replaced it with the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), its legacy endures. UNSCOM’s utilization of inspections and expert analysis created a template and demonstrated that multilateral verification can be effective and credible even in the most trying of environments.

In particular, the Special Commission’s continued impact can be seen in the various multilateral initiatives that have followed to strengthen the non-proliferation of chemical and biological weapons, including the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism for investigating allegations of chemical or biological weapons, and the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism established by the Security Council in 2015 to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons use in Syria.

Footnotes

[1] General Assembly resolution 42/37 (C) of 30 November 1987. Reaffirmed by Security Council resolution 620 (1988)

[2] Paragraph 18, SGM Guidelines and Procedures (A/44/561)

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