STATEMENT OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA DURING THE 13TH JOINT
MEETING OF WORKING GROUPS A AND B OF THE PREPARATORY COMMISSION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE
NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY ORGANIZATION 1 MARCH 2010, DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR TAOUS
FEROUKHI, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OFALGERIA
At the outset, I would like to express on behalf of the G-77 and China its sincere condolences to the victims of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. I seize this painful occasion to assure the people and Governments of Haiti and Chile of the compassion and solidarity of the G-77 and China in these difficult circumstances.
The G-77 and China thanks the Secretariat for the presentation on the IMS and IDC data provided in real time regarding tsunami warning systems for Chile and the countries of the region.
The States Signatories members of the Group of 77 and China, would like to thank you together with Mr Hein Haak, Chairperson of Working Group B, for convening this joint meeting. Let me express the Group's appreciation to the Executive Secretary,
Tibor Tóth, for his introductory statement as well.
The Group of 77 and China seizes the opportunity of this last meeting conducted by you, Ambassador Abdulkader Bin Rimdap as Chairman of WGA, to express its deep gratitude and appreciation for your able leadership and dedication in which you successfully conducted WGA during the last four years.
Regarding the proposals for the update to the Medium Term Plan (MTP) 2009-2013, contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1058, the Group wishes to reiterate that as provided for in the Treaty, the mandate of the PrepCom is to operate provisionally the IDC and the IMS networks pending their formal commissioning after the Entry Into Force of the Treaty. Therefore the Group believes that any unjustified attempts to accelerate the pace of building-up of the verification regime, particularly the IMS remaining stations, would be premature.
Regarding the guidance to the PTS for the preparation of the initial draft 2011 Programme and Budget, the G-77 and China reiterates the position expressed on this issue in its statement to the 34th Session of Working Group B last week.
The Group believes that the current economic and financial crisis calls for budgetary austerity and for zero real growth as a ceiling for the overall expenditures, taking into account the possibility for further reductions and savings, as well as efficiency measures.
In addition, the preparation of the verification related work programme for 2011 and future years should be based on a balanced approach in all areas of the verification regime.
As regards Major Programme 1 (International Monitoring System) the Group reiterates the need to fund the highest priority activities, which include protecting the investment already made in maintaining the IMS network and completing IMS facilities, where work is under way.
In this connection, it is important to remind that the approved supplementary appropriations for the Capital Investment Fund (CIF) to be funded through the payment of arrears, the PTS is enabled to proceed with the installation of new IMS facilities, while setting aside additional resources for IMS sustainment. This decision is based on the understanding that the installation component of the CIF (CIF-I) should remain stable for the next three budget cycles, while its sustainment component (CIF-S) may be reduced over the same period.
The Group is therefore concerned with the indications by the Secretariat during the ongoing session of WGB on possible need for additional resources for CIF-S, which will result on additional financial burden on States Signatories. Therefore rearrangement of the distribution of appropriations, or extrabudgetary contributions should be envisaged regarding the CIF-I and the CIF-S components.
On Major Programme 2 (International Data Centre) the Group recalls the need to maintain and enhance quality of data products of the IDC taking into account the needs of the IDC Division on required analyst resources.
The Group also takes note with appreciation of the information presented by the Director of the IDC Division at the ongoing session of Working Group B on the Knowledge Exchange Programme. The Group commends the Secretariat for this initiative, aiming at providing an opportunity for technical experts from developing countries to acquire professional expertise and experience while contributing to the work of data analysis at the Division. The Group encourages the PTS to expand and institutionalize this Programme, including by means of additional resources at the next Budget Cycle.
On the proposal on validation test, the Group is of the view that it still needs more elaboration prior to its consideration by the policy making organs of the Commission.
Turning to the priorities for MP3 (On-Site Inspection), the Group would like to thank the PTS for the Action Plan as a final product of the IFE review and its follow-up process with the view to setting out a strategic framework for the development of the OSI regime. In this regard, the OSI programmes and projects should be guided by order of priority, taking into account cost and sustainability considerations, as well as the prospects for the Entry into Force of the Treaty.
Regarding the proposal for the establishment of an Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility (ESMF), the Group takes note of the briefing provided by the late Mr Kvok on 3 February 2010. In this respect, the Group is of the view that the renting of a pre-existing facility as a temporary solution is the option considered as the most suitable to the pressing needs of the Division, since according to the PTS the costs of doing so could be easily absorbed within current budgetary levels.
Whilst taking cognizance of the difficulties being faced by the PTS in the field of human resources, the Group encourages the Secretariat to explore all appropriate 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.
With this in mind, the Group takes note of the PTS proposal for additional posts in four Divisions, as presented in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1060, and looks forward to discussing it in the context of the draft Programme and Budget for 2011 discussions, having in mind the overarching need for maintaining zero real growth in expenditures.
With regard to the confidentiality issue, the Group emphasizes that in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty, the text establishing the PrepCom and the work of the PTS, information derived from the Secretariat, including IMS data and IDC products are confidential. The Group believes that a Confidentiality Policy for the PTS is a real and urgent need, which can contribute to the creation of a strict regime for handling all data and information available to the PTS.
The Group is of the view that document CTBT/PTS/INF.614/Rev2, which contains the PTS policies and procedures for handling sensitive information should be further discussed. However, the Group believes that a comprehensive approach, including definition of information, list of types of information available to the PTS, criteria for the classification and declassification, procedures and modalities for handling classified information, changing the classification or designation of information, roles and responsibilities of States Signatories, is necessary for the confidentiality policy of the PTS.
The Group remarks that the provisional nature of the verification system, the increasing volume of data available to the IDC and the high number of authorized users and several tsunami warning organizations that receive the available data, are all elements that create an urgent need for regulation of the distribution and access to that data.