Global NonProliferation Program


With its partner organization CRDF Global, CCSI is now commencing a global, multilanguage nonproliferation UN sanctions training.

Bilingual events with simultaneous interpretation are scheduled in Maputo (Mozambique), Mombasa (Kenya), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Manila (Philippines), Bali (Indonesia), and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).

The 2-day workshops are based on CCSI’s latest and revised.


Implementation Handbook for UN sanctions on North Korea

The handbook encompasses 130 pages, with maps, illustrations and tables, to cover all aspects that practitioners may find useful, in the following chapters:


I. The ubiquitous hermit kingdom

II. North Korea’s military diplomacy and UN sanctions

III. North Korean conglomerates

IV. The UN sanctions environment

V. UN sanctions measures

VI. Whole-of-government sanctions implementation mechanism

VII. Whole-of-enterprise sanctions compliance mechanism

The texts were co-authored by Enrico Carisch and Loraine Rickard-Martin, with the research assistance of Ola al-Tamimi, Anastasia Borosova, Won Jang, Jake Sprang, Alfredo Villavicencio and Samantha Taylor.

Additionally, the following 10 case studies, prepared by CCSI subject matter experts and collaborators are made available in translation:


Digital Methods for Circumventing UN Sanctions

A Case Study of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Cyber Force


By Ashley Taylor

The cyber sphere is a new frontline in the implementation and circumvention of UN sanctions. Because the Internet provides a virtual space for instantaneous communication and transaction, it inherently opens cheaper and unregulated avenues for rogue actors to violate international norms. Illicit uses of digital technologies outpace the advancements of licit technologists, who generally do not prioritize international security in their business. Read more

A practitioner, entrepreneur and researcher, Ashley Taylor is deeply immersed in the intersection of digital technologies and international security. Being a member of the first generation of blockchain entrepreneurs, Taylor was drawn early to the potential ramifications of encrypted communications and distributed ledger technologies on the integrity of commerce and social development. Working with tech and finance organizations, she is now actively developing a humanistic framework involving new technologies and implementation criteria that support the maintenance of international peace and security.


Countering Proliferation Finance

Lessons Learned from the Chinpo Shipping Case


By Beatrice Müller

On 13 July 2013, the vessel Chong Chon Gang was intercepted for inspection by Panamanian authorities. The general cargo vessel which was on its way from Cuba to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was seized upon suspicion of carrying drugs . No drugs were discovered on board. Yet, covered underneath 200,000 bags of sugar, the largest shipment of arms (and related material) in violation of the arms embargo on the DPRK was revealed. Among the military equipment not only parts and whole MiG-21 aircrafts were found, but also small arms and light weapons as well as ammunition. Read more

Beatrice Müller holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Geneva. She is currently working in the field of arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, while also serving as a foreign policy co-editor at the Swiss think tank foraus. Previously Ms. Müller has interned and worked for a human rights NGO and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.


North Korean Conglomerates

Their Arms Connection, and Sanction Busting Activities


By Kathrin Kranz, PhD

Conglomerates are large corporations formed by the merging of separate and diverse firms. North Korea’s conglomerates are well organized and funded, and are characterized by increasing sophistication in their methods of violating sanctions. Conglomerates are a crucial part of DPRK foreign policy as well as a means to procure hard cash. The North Korean government has established and/or supported the growth of conglomerates with the explicit purpose of developing ties with other countries through the sale of DPRK products, including arms and related goods and training. In turn, conglomerates have helped the government obtain the hard cash and parts required for its nuclear proliferation program. Read more


The Luxury Goods Ban

Understanding its promise and navigating challenges


By Kathrin Kranz, PhD

Violations of the luxury goods ban periodically make headlines, as they did in February 2019, when Dutch authorities intercepted 90,000 bottles of vodka destined for the DPRK. In addition, infrastructure projects for affluent North Koreans have been completed, such as a 4D cinema and the Masikryong Ski Resort, which features European ski lifts and snowmobiles. News reports also refer to “makeup and vitamins” as luxury goods for North Koreans. Indeed, in 2018, Yoon Sang-Hyun, a South Korean lawmaker, claimed that North Korea spent at least $640 million on luxury goods imports from China in 2017. These examples can be seen in the context of wider questions that arise in the context of the luxury goods ban: what are luxury items, and how do different countries interpret “luxury goods”? Which states have been lax in delineating luxury goods from regular consumer goods? And, importantly, how can the private sector ensure compliance with the luxury goods ban, which may require being mindful of shifting interpretations and practices of various states? This report addresses these questions, and provides examples that help illuminate the complexities at play that can help guide the private sector in complying with the ban. The report also underlines the ingenuity of the luxury goods ban. By leaving undefined the meaning of luxury goods and making clear that the ban is not limited to certain items, the UN Security Council created a sanction type that frustrates the DPRK elite without negatively impacting the broader North Korean population. Read more

Kathrin Kranz holds a Ph.D. in Peace Studies and Political Science from the University of Notre Dame, and an LL.M. in Public International Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the international arms trade, economic sanctions, and international institutions.

By Mark Duncan

The UN sanctions regime targeting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the most comprehensive in existence, imposing a complex array of enforcement and reporting obligations on governments;

African States are particularly vulnerable to sanctions evasion due to long-standing commercial ties with the DPRK that pre-date the sanctions regime but may no longer be legal post-2006, or offer conduits for evasion by the DPRK, its nationals and entities;

In order to facilitate compliance, this guide offers a summary of the types of sanctions measures imposed on the DPRK, enforcement efforts and reporting obligations. Read more

Mark Duncan is a graduate student and researcher with extensive experience in arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament. He is presently an intern with the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations. He previously interned at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, the Russian International Affairs Council and the International Centre for Security Analysis. He graduated from UCL and the Higher School of Economics, Moscow with the International Master’s in Economy, State and Society: Peace and Security. He will join the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a Civil Service Fast Streamer later this year

By Shawna Meister

In an effort to reduce and eventually end non-proliferation activities conducted by the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has issued targeted sanctions against specific individuals and entities (designees) believed to be, or are knowingly, committing these types of violations. UN member states and those organizations that fall under their jurisdiction (e.g., businesses, government agencies, citizens, etc.) are expected to enforce the UNSC sanctions. However, information to identify and track the activities of designates is often limited or difficult to detect. To help bolster state capacity to enforce UNSC sanctions on DPRK violators, it is useful to be aware of common characteristics or activities, including criminal activities and regulatory violations, shared by these groups as an additional means to flag for these or other potential sanctions violators. This case study examines characteristics common to designated individuals and entities under the DPRK regime, and provides potential recommendations for states and other interested parties to enforce sanctions on these and other potential violators. Read more

By Shawna Meister

Individuals and entities that violate United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions often also commit serious breeches of state laws and regulations. The proliferation activities carried out by designated individuals and entities of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) can be detrimental, among others, to states’ national security, integrity of national financial institutions, export regulations, or border controls. For instance, shipping of any sanctioned items or materials usually requires false customs declarations, by proffering falsified documents, or bribing of border agents. Concomitant illegal acts could also be associated with additional risks to states, such as the illegal transit of hazardous materials that endanger the health and safety of anybody handling such shipments, or in the case of an accident, could cause severe and wide-spread human casualties. Although states make efforts to protect themselves from potential violations of their own laws, it may be difficult for states to identify concomitant activities carried out by designated individuals and entities. This brief will assist by describing observed or inferred illegal and regulatory violations that may be associated with different sanctions violations. Read more

Shawna Meister - CCSI Senior Contributor

A research and policy analyst, Shawna Meister has worked with CCSI since its establishment on various projects for the past eight years. Her background includes analyzing the role of United Nations (UN) sanctions in overall conflict resolution efforts, civil war in Africa and the Middle East, and enforcement challenges with nonproliferation sanctions. Recently, as part of CCSI’s typology research initiative, Shawna has led the analysis of characteristics and activities of designated individuals and entities to identify patterns and links within and across sanctions regimes. She has produced numerous publications including authoring analytical and technical reports, case studies, journal articles, and has contributed to all books and nonproliferation manuals CCSI has released. Shawna's skills include multi-scale research project management and transforming complex information and analyses into useable products such as training guides, educational manuals, public tools and resources, and websites.

By Thomas Bifwoli

On April 2019 Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) reported that through collaboration with Interpol, they had managed to recover stolen vehicles at the port of Mombasa . The report further said that the same are to be repatriated back to United Kingdom (Where they came from). In May the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported the sacking of Vice president of Gabon together with a forestry minster after “300 Containers of timber went missing” at the Port in the country, reportedly destined to China. This sacking was done by the president Ali Bongo . These two cases are among the many cross border situation that continually get reported by the World Customs Organizations (WCO) member states. Theoretically, with the WCO’s assistance, fighting Cross-border criminal system/networks both locally and international, as the ones referenced above, has never been any easier. But political interference and lack of capacity still present formidable challenges to many lesser developed WCO Member states. Conflict regions and other vulnerable regions and countries such as Northern Mozambique, Somalia, the Eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or the entire Central African Republic among others prove to be particularly hard territories for successful interventions against cross-border smuggling and crime. Read more

By Thomas Bifwoli

Border control and management is one of the great challenges facing most countries. In a globalized world, government authorities must balance between maintaining security while facilitating speedy and legitimate trade. In the absence of that balance, smuggling, trafficking and illegal migration, organised crime and terrorism will flourish.

A typical border control agency increasingly has to adapt to a world without ‘’borders’’. This is a world driven by the following

Open borders: a border is more than the traditional border crossing points. Vast unmanned land borders, among others, pose unique challenges for border agencies. Relevant authorities must continuously find solutions for these challenges.
Increasing mobility of people, both legitimate and illegitimate: governments have to constantly think of new ways to manage this increased flow.
Trade volume increase: there is an increased need to respond to challenges such as smuggling of illicit goods.

Governments alone cannot manage or achieve these objectives. Now, more than ever before, there is a need to involve the private sector in addressing border control and management challenges. As is the case, Customs and other border agencies around the world increasingly involve the private sector in one way or another. This means that border control management agencies must redefine their role and transform themselves and re-train their personnel, and rebuild their technical capacities in-line with these new demands. Read more

By Thomas Bifwoli

Implementation of United Nations Security Council Sanctions requires both good will from respective member states and the efficiency and preparedness of the various institution within the UN Member states.

One of the key institutions is an equipped and equally supported customs administration. Customs plays an important role as the first line of defence when it comes to regulating what comes into a given territory. Similarly, it is the last line of defence for goods that leave a given territory. To be able to effectively do this, necessary legislation, legal framework needs to be provided. This is not limited to goods under United Nations Sanctions including the Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPKR), but also all goods under its (Customs) control. The East Africa Community (EAC) has developed a common customs legislation that regulates the flow of goods in and out of the territory, based on the EAC treaty of 1999. A brief review of this legislation points to a lack of clarity on the role of customs in the control of embargoed material as mandated to all member states by the United Nations Security Council. Read more

Thomas Bifwoli has worked for the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA); and was previously seconded to the World Customs Organization Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Eastern and Southern Africa (WCO RILO ESA) as Head of Office. He serves as the coordinator of a UN sanctions monitoring expert group.