On behalf of State Signatories of the Group of 77 and China, I am pleased to see you chairing the 20th session of Working Group B. I believe that under your chairmanship and guidance, discussions will lead to fruitful conclusions and I assure you of our full support and cooperation.
The Group wishes to thank the Executive Secretary, distinguished Ambassador Wolfgang Hoffmann, for his comprehensive written and oral reports and we would like to express our appreciation for the good achievements of the PTS last year under his leadership.
The Group would like to express its views on the following issues, which will be considered during the present meeting of Working Group B.
1. Consideration of guidance to the PTS for preparing the verification related work programme and budget elements for 2004
The Group would like to reiterate the views expressed in its previous statements, in particular that any proposal for the verification related work programme and budget elements for 2004 and thereafter, should be guided by the following main principles, First: the actual prospect of the Entry Into Force of the Treaty (EIF), Second: the capabilities of the Member States to pay their assessed contributions, Third: the capability of the PTS to consolidate the budget.
In this regard the Group would like to emphasize the Gentlemen's Agreement contained in the report of the nineteenth session of the Prep Com, document CTBT/PC-19/1 para 33, approved by all members of the Prep Com, which clearly reads as follows: "The Provisional Technical Secretariat should do its utmost to keep the draft 2004 Budget at the level of the 2003 Budget and that the required resources will be evaluated carefully in order to approach the level of the 2003 Programme and Budget".
Accordingly, the Group urges WGB to adjust the pace of its work to the above mentioned Gentlemen's Agreement and requests the PTS to prepare a long range plan for the establishment of verification system insuring the implementation of the said principles and keeping the budget for the coming years at the same level of 2003.
2. The Group believes that according to the resolution on the establishment of the Prep Com, technical testing and provisional operations, as necessary, pending the Entry Into Force (EIF) of the Treaty is a task of the Prep Com. The operation of IMS stations before the EIF of the Treaty is provisional and testing in nature and only for the purpose of testing and evaluating the performance and data quality of IMS stations. The Group welcomes the adoption of the guidelines for technical testing and provisional operation of certified IMS stations, the GCI and the IDC in the last Working Group B [CTBT/pc-19/1/annexII,para 13], especially the guideline stipulating that the pre EIF activities of certified IMS, the GCI and the IDC do not provide for verification of compliance with the CTBT, including monitoring for verification purposes. We believe that the mode of operation of IMS certified station should be determined in the light of actual needs of testing and maintenance of the IMS network, and the legal and financial concerns of State Signatories should be duly taken into account during the negotiation of contracts for post certification activities.
3. The Group attaches great importance to the National Data Centers (NDCs) and believes that the PTS should play a more active role in promoting the NDCs of developing countries especially in providing hardware and software. More training courses for NDCs are required to provide the necessary capabilities for the States Signatories, especially for developing countries, to take greater advantage of the data, products and services of the IDC. There should be wider participation of the developing countries in IDC training courses for analysts and improving, therefore, the geographical representation in analyst posts in the IDC. Such a situation would create a better understanding of IDC operations for possible application in NDCs of States Signatories.
4. The Group, due to the importance of the technical discussion in WGB and the need for wider participation of States Signatories, urges the PTS to facilitate and support the participation of experts from developing countries in WGB sessions.
5. The Group believes that all the elements of the verification regime of the treaty including IMS, IDC and OSI, are important and in this regard attaches great importance to a balanced approach in establishing all those elements. Due to the complexity of the OSI issues, active participation of all members is important so we urge all the States Signatories to actively participate in the OSI discussion. From our point of view elaboration of the draft OSI Operational Manual, based on the Initial Draft Rolling Text (IDRT), remain a priority task for all members of the Commission.
In this respect the necessary preparations for the establishment of the OSI regime at Entry Into Force of the Treaty should be made. This should include testing and evaluation of all OSI equipments, establishing supporting infrastructures and preparing a comprehensive programme for training of the inspectors and inspection assistants after the EIF of the treaty.
The Group also attaches great importance to the OSI training programmes including introductory training courses, advanced training courses and experimental training courses and urges the PTS to do its utmost for the wider participation of developing countries in these courses. The results of these training courses should provide a contribution for OSI operational manual elaboration.
6. In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty, the text on the establishment of the Prep Com and due to the development in the work of the PTS, we believe that adopting a Confidentiality Policy for the PTS is a real and urgent need. The confidentiality policy should create a strict regime for handling of all data and information available to the PTS and should not be limited to the classification of the information. In this regard, 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 the classified information, changing the Classification or Designation of Information, roles and responsibilities of States Signatories, is necessary. We believe that more time in WGB discussions should be allocated to this important task.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
As a matter of principle, the Group believes that careful attention should be given to the distinction between the mandate of WGB and WGA. Discussions in the WGB should be focused on the technical issues related to the establishment of the verification regime of the Treaty and legal and organizational issues should be discussed in WGA. In our point of view WGB is not a proper forum for the discussion on the staff rules and regulations and issues related to the personnel, which is within the mandate of WGA. However, since this matter has been raised and the Group attaches great importance to the Non-Career policy of the Commission, we would like to reiterate our support for the 7 year limit rule on the staff service and we believe that the following criteria should be followed and respected for replacing the D-level posts in the PTS:
· Well established practice in accordance with the decision approved at the First session of the Preparatory Commission in 1997.
· Equitable representation of the regional groups, as contained in Article II, para 50 of the Treaty, at the same time high level standards of expertise, competence, integrity and experience.
· Full consultation in a spirit of transparency with different geographical regions.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.