On behalf of the Signatory States of the Group of 77 and China, I would like to congratulate you on your Chairmanship of the 21st session of the preparatory commission of the CTBTO. I am confident that your outstanding diplomatic skills and broad experience will steer this session to a successful conclusion.
The Group wishes to thank the Executive Secretary, Ambassador Wolfgang Hoffmann, for his comprehensive written and oral reports and we would like to express our appreciation for the diligent efforts of the PTS in implementing the mandates of the Preparatory Commission for the establishment of the verification system at the Entry Into Force of the Treaty.
We are pleased to note that since the last Prep Com, Afghanistan and Palau have signed and five other Member States of the G-77 and China, namely, Algeria, Afghanistan, Honduras, Kyrgyztan and Oman, have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). This is a clear manifestation of support of G-77 and China to the Treaty. We would also like to welcome the ratification of the Treaty by Cyprus, bringing the total number of ratifications to 107.
The Group attaches great importance to the Treaty and in this regard welcomes the outcome of the Article 14 Conference for facilitating of the Entry Into Force (EIF) of the CTBT in September 2003 in Vienna. The Group wishes to thank the efforts of H.E. Ambassador Grönberg of Finland for convening the informal consultations and the PTS for the preparatory works in this regard.
The G-77 and China attaches great importance to the objectives of International Cooperation activities as stipulated in para 12 of article IV of the Treaty, including facilitation of fullest possible exchange of technologies relating to the verification system, capacity building in different states and application of those technologies for peaceful purposes. The Group believes that all the workshops in this regard should continue to be guided in this direction. We welcome the efforts of the International Cooperation Section of the PTS in this direction and take note with appreciation of the preparations for the Workshop on CTBTO International Cooperation for States from South-East Asia in Kuala Lumpur from 9 to 11 December 2003. The Group would like to reiterate its the support for the successful convening of such workshops in other sub-regions.
We appreciate the activities undertaken by the PTS during 2002 in implementation of the 7 Major Programmes. We would like to ask the PTS to continue assisting in the promotion of cooperation among States Signatories to facilitate the exchange of technologies used in the verification of the Treaty. The Group believes that training courses of the PTS are useful elements for the dissemination of information about different technologies of the international monitoring system facilities of the Treaty. Those activities should be further coordinated and should involve wider representation.
As regards the programme and budget for 2004, we take note of the fact that the proposed Budget for 2004 in document (CTBT/PTS/INF.629) amounts to US$94 395 000, compared with $88 581 700 in 2003. We also take note of the draft decisions on budgetary and financial issues to be considered by the Prep-Com in CTBT/PTS/INF.630. 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. Accordingly, the Group urges the PTS to continue adjusting the pace of its work to the above mentioned Gentlemen's Agreement and requests it to prioritize and reallocate its resources among Major Programmes, under the principle of no overall programmatic increases. We welcome and support the efforts of the PTS in the implementation of a realistic approach towards the program and budget for 2004 by trying to keep the 2004 budget at the same level of 2003, with no programmatic increases over the 2003 funding level, or in PTS staffing levels. The Group notes with appreciation that the PTS is going to absorb any programme adjustments within the existing resources.
We acknowledge the efforts of the PTS to make further economies and cost efficiencies by reprioritizing its activities and reallocating other resources (for example, using more accurate inflation rate, increasing in the laps rate, deferral of IDC hardware, postponement of some IMS training activities, closure of the New York office, expanded use of information technology and the integration of administrative systems, and streamlining of its internal administration). However, as a matter of principle, we are of the opinion that further savings could be made in Post Certification Costs. We urge all states and the PTS to do their utmost efforts in the process of negotiation and conclusion of the post certification agreements to adhere to the cost efficiency principle and to ensure the reduction of post certification costs to the lowest level possible, taking into account the estimation of the PTS in document CTBT/PTS/INF.536 para 24 and the already approved guidelines in the WGB (CTBT/WGB-19/1 para 15) and WGA (CTBT/WGA-22/1 para 15).
In the view of the Group, action should be taken right away to protect the Commission against currency fluctuations. We take note of the three options proposed by the PTS in document CTBT/PTS/INF.629 and the report of Advisory Group in this regard. Although a currency fluctuation reserve, funded with voluntary contributions would be an ideal solution for the G-77, the Group is cognizant of the difficulties which the PTS would face in receiving enough resources in this option. We believe therefore that the split appropriation and assessment system is another viable option. The split currency assessment and appropriation system is tried and tested in the IAEA since 1986. In our opinion the Prep Com should give a clear mandate to the next Advisory Group and WGA to ensure that the details of the application of this option, as well as its budgetary implications, are fully discussed.
We would like to reaffirm our commitment, as stated at the Ninth Session of the Commission in which we called upon all States Signatories "to accord to the activities of the Commission, its officials and experts, cooperation and assistance as may be necessary for the exercise of their functions and the fulfillment of the Commission's purpose, in accordance with the laws and regulations in force in their respective countries.
The Group wishes to express its appreciation for the excellent job that Ambassador Wolfgang Hoffmann as Executive Secretary has done. Indeed his diplomatic skills and able management capabilities were among the main factors in the successful creation of this organization from scratch and in the efficient functioning of the Provisional Technical Secretariat up to this stage. So we are very pleased to support the extension of his contract. As he regrettably will not continue in his functions beyond mid-2005, we are ready to work with other Member States on the procedures for the appointment of the new Executive Secretary. We propose that this Prep Com gives a clear mandate to the WGA to come up with clear procedures in this regard, including with due regard to equitable geographical rotation.
The Group believes that the Human Resources issues in the PTS should be treated in an open and transparent way, according to the existing staff rules and regulations. Therefore, the Group strongly supports the Commission's non-career policy, especially the seven-year limit on service with the PTS, as outlined in its staff rules and regulations and the administrative directive on recruitment, appointment, reappointment and tenure. Equitable geographical representation and full consultation with different regional groups and countries, as well as high level standards of expertise, competence, integrity and experience shall be the main criteria for appointment of the staff in the PTS.
On the issue of the seven year service limit, we take note of the fact that the Executive Secretary has started to implement this limit starting from March 1997, guided by the views of States Signatories as contained in the report of the Twenty-Third Session of Working Group A (CTBT/PC-20/1/Annex I), and accordingly, some staff members have been officially informed that their appointments will not be extended beyond the seven year service limit. Although it's the prerogative of the Executive Secretary to make some exceptions to the service limit in accordance with Administrative Directive No. 20 (Rev.2), in order to retain essential expertise or memory in the PTS, this exception shall occur in absolute minimum cases, in accordance with the Administrative Directive No. 20 (Rev.2), and recent WGA reports. These exceptions shall be reported to the Commission.
The Group would also like to express its deep gratitude to the Directors of the PTS. We would like to especially thank Dr. Vladimir Kriouthchenkov, Director of OSI and Dr. Rashad Kebeasy, Director of the IDC, for their valuable contribution to the work of the PTS and wish them all the best for their future jobs. We welcome the new process for appointing the Directors. We take note of and support the recommendation of the Executive Secretary on Appointment of Directors of the PTS from 2004 in CTBT/PTS/INF.631
At its Nineteenth Session, the Preparatory Commission adopted the schedule of meetings for 2003 on the basis of a reduction to two of the annual number of sessions of the Preparatory Commission and its subsidiary bodies (CTBT/PC-19/1/Annex V). We welcome this decision and support the tentative schedule of meetings of the Policy Making Organs in 2004 based on the pattern of meetings in 2003, which has been prepared by the PTS and reflected in document CTBT/PTS/INF.623/Rev.1.
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 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]. We believe that the mode of operation of IMS certified station should be determined exclusively 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. We welcome the decision of Working Group B in its 21st session as stipulated in para 10-12 of CTBT/WGB-21/1 on the proposed system-wide performance test. We are of the view that this test should be carried out when the majority of the IMS stations, especially certified stations, are in place and connected to the IDC and after doing enough preparation for this wide scale test by the PTS. The only purpose of this test is to evaluate the performance of the whole system and nothing more. We take note of the fact that Working Group B in its latest meeting (para 12 of CTBT/WGB-21/1) agreed that "the schedule for the phases of wide scale testing as well as their duration should be flexible". However, we believe that the test should be done in a very limited timeframe, in accordance with document CTBTO/PTS/INF/606.
The Group attaches great importance to the National Data Centers (NDCs) and welcomes the establishment of a joint theme task of NDC in the framework of Working Group B and supports the main objectives of this task as articulated by its distinguished task leader in the report of last WGB. We believe that the PTS should play a more active role in promoting the NDCs of developing countries, especially in providing hardware and software. The Group encourages wider participation of the developing countries in IDC training courses.
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 dealing with all those elements. Due to the complexity of the OSI issues, active participation of all members is important. We therefore urge all States Signatories to actively participate in the OSI discussion. From our point of view the elaboration of the draft OSI Operational Manual, based on the Initial Draft Rolling Text (IDRT), remains a priority task for all members of the Commission. We appreciate the efforts of the PTS in supporting the elaboration of the draft On-Site Inspection (OSI) Operational Manual, especially the contribution of the PTS in chapter 6 on inspection of underground events, search logic, software checking, point of entry and base camp activities. We ask for the continuation and increased contribution of the PTS, based on the experience of workshops, tabletop exercises and field experiments, to the discussion of draft OSI Operational Manual.
From our point of view, adequate resources should be allocated to the OSI major program in order to enable the necessary preparations for the establishment of the OSI regime at Entry Into Force of the Treaty. We would like to express our appreciation for the external evaluation of major programme 4 and the report which has been prepared by the External Evaluation Team. We note that the report of the team, CTBT/WGB-21/INF.5 of 5 June 2003, directed to Working Group B (WGB), contains many important recommendations for further improving the functionality and effectiveness of the OSI Major Programme in order to accelerate progress towards being able to launch and conduct effective inspections upon Entry Into Force, so we would like to ask the WGB to discuss and consider this report, as well as the response of the PTS in this regard in full and with great care.
We take note with appreciation of the convening of the ninth OSI Workshop, the third tabletop exercise on managed access in Snezhinsk, Russian Federation, and the fourth Experimental Advanced Course for the visual observation and survey sub-team in Paris. To ensure that the lessons from operational activities are not lost, we welcome the initiative of the PTS in starting to record them carefully in a special database of OSI lessons learned.
In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty, and with 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 and transparent regime for handling all data and information available to the PTS. In this regard, we take note of the paper of the PTS on its policies and procedures in handling sensitive information, in document CTBT/PTS/INF.614. This document could be a basis for further discussion. However, we believe that a comprehensive approach is necessary for the confidentiality policy of the PTS. We believe that more time in WGB discussions should be allocated to this important task.
The G-77 and China welcome the consideration by the Conference on Article XIV, held in Vienna 3-5 September 2003, under the agenda item "Consideration of specific measures to facilitate the Entry Into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban-Treaty", of the proposal presented by Colombia to overcome the constitutional impediments that prevent it from paying any contributions prior to the ratification of the Treaty. States participating in the Conference expressed their interest in finding a solution regarding the particular impediments of Colombia and suggested that the issue should be discussed further in the context of the Preparatory Commission and its subsidiary bodies, with the advice of the Provisional Technical Secretariat.
Furthermore the Group welcomes with interest the consideration of this agenda item by the 21st session of the Advisory Group, held in Vienna 22-26 September 2003, and by the 24th session of the Working Group A, held from 29 September to 2 October, whose reports recommend to continue the discussion of this item in the context of the Preparatory Commission.
The Group reiterates its support for the consideration of this matter in the context of the Preparatory Commission, in order to achieve its solution.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.