Mr Chairman,

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 Tóth, for his oral remarks in the opening of the current Meeting.

With respect to Item 3 of our agenda, namely the Final draft Programme and Budget for 2011, the Group of 77 and China would like to reiterate 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;
- 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.1069/Rev.1 and is pleased to note that the revised proposal is below zero real growth level compared to the 2010 budget.

This pragmatic approach followed by the PTS in preparing the final draft is particularly commendable, since it takes into account the economic and financial crisis that has been affecting all States Signatories. In addition to avoiding making excessive financial demands, the proposal demonstrates that the PTS has undertaken efforts towards identifying and focusing on priority tasks and activities. The Group also believes that the proposal represents a step in the right direction towards achieving an adequate balance in the distribution of resources among the three elements of the verification regime, namely International Monitoring System, International Data Centre and On-Site Inspection. Therefore, the Group believes that the final draft constitutes a good basis for the adoption of the Budget for 2011.

Against that background, the Group of G77 and China would also like to comment on some specific points of the final draft Budget proposal.

As regards the reference to long term unfunded capital items mentioned in page 25 of the document, the Group once again encourages the PTS to continue to focus 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.

As regards Major Programme 1 (International Monitoring System), the Group is encouraged to note that the PTS has reallocated resources for the 2011 Programme and Budget in order to fund the highest priority activities, which include protecting the investment already made and maintaining the IMS network and completing IMS facilities where work is under way.

On the other hand, the Group notes that Major Programme 3 (On-Site Inspection) has been particularly affected by the modifications introduced in the final draft Budget in comparison with the initial version circulated in May. Taking into account the need to further reduce the capability gap that still exists between the OSI and the other two pillars of the verification regime, the Group believes that the reductions introduced in this Major Programme in comparison with the initial draft should have been at least proportional to the ones that were proposed in Major Programmes 1 and 2.

Mr Chairman,

Regarding the issue of additional funds for priority unfunded projects in the 2011 Programme and Budget, namely the reconstruction of stations in the Juan Fernandez Islands and the implementation of the ERP project, the Group expresses its appreciation for the ongoing consultations on this issue that are being undertaken by you Mr Chairman. The Group strongly encourages the concerned parties to make every effort to reach a consensus-based modality for financing these projects for the 2011 Programme and Budget.

As to the reconstruction of stations HA3 and IS14 in the Juan Fernandez Islands, the Group believes this to be one of the priority projects, due to the importance of such stations within the IMS, and expresses its expectation that both stations can be rebuilt.

Turning to the issue of financing the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform, the Group reiterates its support to its implementation as envisaged by the PTS and outlined in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1068. Given the expected discontinuance of IMIS within the next three to five years and the prospects for efficiency gains to be obtained by the introduction of an ERP platform, the Group also believes this project to be a priority. In this regard, the Group is in a position to support the option of a supplementary appropriation to the 2011 Budget for this purpose, which should be compensated by the 2008 cash surplus. The Group underscores, however, that this additional appropriation is an extraordinary measure and shall not constitute a precedent for the negotiations for 2012 Budget.

Mr Chairman,

Turning now to the staffing challenges, the Group once again 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.

In this regard, the Group takes note that in response to this staffing challenge 10 new professional regular posts have been proposed for 2011 and the full costs of these staff changes are met through a reallocation of resources from other items of expenditure.

However, the Group recalls its concern with the fact that some non-regular staff are currently carrying out tasks typical of regular staff, and in this regard the Group expects that the PTS strives to replace such positions with regular positions within available resources.

The Group also wishes to recall that Working Group A at its 37th Session has encouraged the PTS to consider revising the benefits offered to non-regular staff in order to enhance the attractiveness of the organization to a wider range of applicants, in particular for nationals from developing countries.

Mr Chairman,

Regarding the methods of work of Working Group B, the G77 and China reiterates its position as regards the schedule of sessions of Working Group B. The Group believes that experience in the past two years has proven that, through further streamlining in terms of efficiency, the current practice of holding no more than 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.

I thank you, Mr Chairman.

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