STATEMENT OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA DURING THE 12TH JOINT
MEETING OF WORKING GROUPS A AND B OF THE PREPARATORY COMMISSION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE
NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY ORGANIZATION 31ST AUGUST 2009, DELIVERED BY MS. MOIRA
WILKINSON, COUNSELLOR, PERMANENT MISSION OFARGENTINA
At the outset, on behalf of the States Signatories members of the Group of 77 and China, I wish to thank you and Mr. Hein Haak, chairperson of Working Group B, for convening this joint meeting. The Group also thanks the Executive Secretary, Ambassador Tibor Toth, for his oral remarks in the opening of the current Session.
As regards to item 4 of our agenda, namely the Final draft Programme and Budget for 2010, the Group of 77 and China would like to recall its position on this issue as expressed in its statement to Working Group B last week. In particular, the Group reiterates once again the importance of four key elements underpinning its position as regards budgetary matters, namely:
The current well advanced status of the verification system;
the mandate of the PrepCom on the provisional operation of the system;
the actual prospects of entry into force of the treaty; and
the need to minimize the financial burden to be borne by States Signatories.
As a corollary to these elements, the Group of 77 and China has been consistently calling for a strict observance of a zero-real growth budget policy. The Group has taken note of CTBT/PTS/INF.1017 and is encouraged to note that the revised proposal is within a zero real growth level compared to the 2009 budget. However, this does not preclude the possibility of identifying further reductions and savings, as well as efficiency measures.
Against that background, the Group of G77 and China would also like to comment in greater detail on some specific points of the Final Draft Budget Proposal for 2010.
As regards Major Programme 1 (International Monitoring System), the Group is encouraged to note that the PTS has reallocated resources for the 2010 Programme and Budget in order to fund the highest priority activities, which include protecting the investment already made in and maintaining the IMS network and completing IMS facilities where work is under way and installing noble gas systems.
It should also be noted that the approval of the proposal for 2009 supplementary appropriations for the CIF to be funded through the payment of arrears, will enable the PTS to proceed with the installation of new IMS facilities while setting aside additional resources for IMS sustainment. The Group notes in particular, that as a consequence of this decision, the CIF-budget should remain stable for the next three budget cycles, while the CIF-S may be reduced.
On Major Programme 2 (International Data Centre) the Group recalls the need to maintain and enhance data availability and quality of data products of the IDC. In this regard while the group noted with concern the decrease in resources for this Major Programme from $42 260 600, compared with $44 258 000 in 2009, we understand that this is mainly due to the reduction in the PCA budget owing to a contribution in-kind made by one State Signatory, and that resources allocated for other core IDC activities were preserved and even increased.
Turning now to the priorities for MP3 (On-Site Inspection) the Group has taken note of document CTBT/PTS/INF.1020 and thanks the OSI Division for the informal briefing on 31 July 2009 to introduce this document to States Signatories and encourages the OSI division to set up more informal consultations to fully engage with States Signatories on this document.
Furthermore, whilst this document serves to be a "road map" for the development of the OSI regime, and appreciating that further development is needed to reach an acceptable level of readiness as highlighted by the evaluation of the 2008 Integrated Field Exercise (IFE) caution should be exercised in view of current budgetary realities and of the prospects of entry into force of the Treaty.
The Group would also like to reiterate its position on this issue as expressed in its statement to Working Group B last week, in which, it requested the Secretariat to outline more clearly numerous components of the project areas of the action plan according to timetables and their corresponding budgetary implications.
As regards the reference to long-term unfunded capital items mentioned in page 25 of the Final Draft Budget Proposal for 2010, the Group once again encourages the PTS to consider how the anticipated investment for the acquisition of a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform could be minimized by means of possible cooperative arrangements with other Vienna-based organizations that currently have or are in the process of adopting IPSAS-compliant ERP platforms. In this regard, the Group requests the PTS to keep State Signatories apprised of the results of the consultancy work on the feasibility study on the possible transition to IPSAS.
As to the reference to the costs of acquisition of two sets of core OSI equipment prior to the Entry Into Force, the Group takes particular note of the reference made in the footnote to the table of unfunded capital items on page 25 to the fact that such action will be needed only when entry into force requirements are met. The Group requests that this clarification is included in all references to this core unfunded task in the draft budget for 2010.
Turning now to the staffing challenges, the Group in the 35th session of WGA noted with concern the introduction of a new item of expenditure " temporary assistance-professional" that have been introduced to distinguish what the PTS refers to as 'longer term" consultants from "short term" consultants. The Group reiterates that this proposal might move in the direction of legitimizing the misuse of consultant contracts in order to cope with shortfalls in regular staff levels. For this reason, the Group is not in a position to accept the creation of this new item of expenditure as proposed.
Whilst taking cognisance of the difficulties being faced by the Secretariat in the field of human resources, an overall reassessment of the current needs of the organisation in terms of regular staff need to be made. The Group encourages the Secretariat to explore all possible avenues to ensure that the PTS has the required level of qualified human resources to carry out the critical functions entrusted to it within approved budgetary allocations.
The Group is nevertheless willing to consider proposals that may enable the Secretariat to hire for shorter periods. Any proposal to that effect must include a clear and thorough outline of its financial and regulatory implications, including regarding the benefits to which such short-term staff may or may not be entitled, as well as of the criteria applicable for the recruitment process.
Turning now to Agenda item 5, on the Chairpersons' Paper outlining elements of a work plan for Working Group A and Working Group B over the next three years, document CTBT/JAB-11/INF.3/Rev.1, the Group of G77 and China would like to thank both the Chairpersons' of WGA and WGB for preparing this document.
Whilst the Group of 77 and China appreciates the efforts undertaken by the Chairpersons to develop a paper outlining their views on the work plan for WGA and WGB over the next three years, the Group notes, in particular, that the mandate of the PrepCom and the requirements for Entry Into Force are already well defined in the Treaty, in its Protocol and in the Resolution that established the PrepCom.
The Group notes that, in addition to issues that are currently part of the routine responsibilities of both Working Groups, the revised document contains an extensive list of tasks which seem to cover the near entirety of the open issues that should be addressed prior to entry into force of the Treaty. The Group believes that the document should be revised with a view to setting a more realistic work plan, by focusing on issues of higher priority and leaving other matters for consideration at a later stage, especially those pertaining to post-entry into force requirements and activities.
The Group is also concerned by the fact that, even though the document is only supposed to be a work plan, in some cases it already spells out the substantive decisions that could be taken in regard to some of the issues, such as in paragraphs 36 and 38.d.
On the other hand, the Group believes that the proposals mentioned in paragraphs 16 to 19 of the document as regards the methods of work of Working Group B are very positive, and should provide for considerable gains in terms of efficiency and productivity.
In this context, the Group reiterates its position as regards the schedule of sessions of Working Group B. We believe that experience in the past two years has proven that the current practice of holding two regular sessions allows for proper and effective consideration of issues currently on the agenda of Working Group B, while at the same time avoiding excessive burdens for States Signatories, especially developing ones, in terms of attendance of meetings by experts.