On behalf of State Signatories of the Group of 77 and China, I am pleased to see you chairing the 22nd session of Working Group A.
I believe that under your chairmanship and guidance discussions will lead to fruitful conclusions and I assure you of our full cooperation.
The Group wishes to thank Ambassador Wolfgang Hoffmann, our distinguished Executive Secretary for his comprehensive written and oral reports and we would like to express our views on the following issues which will be considered during the present meeting of Working Group A.
With reference to the 2003 Programme and Budget Proposals contained in CTBT/PTS/INF.537, the Group notes with concern that the new proposal has not taken into account our request for reduction of the budget but has instead increased it. Therefore we are of the opinion that the amount of US$ 88.8 million is too high. In this regard the Group would like to ask the PTS to make every effort to reduce it, taking into consideration what the Chairperson of the Commission has stated in the report of the sixteenth session of the Prep Com, as contained in CTBT/PC-16/1. This document has been approved by all members of the Prep Com, which I take the opportunity to quote: "the Provisional Technical Secretariat should do it utmost to keep the draft 2003 Budget at the level of the 2002 Budget and that the required resources will be evaluated carefully in order to approach the level of the 2002 Programme and Budget".
The Group notes that the post-certification costs have been increased substantially (approximately US$ 7.6 million as compared to US$ 3.2 million in 2002) and should be reduced in the light of guidelines approved by WGB on this issue. Additionally, significant reductions could also be made inter-alia, in consultancy and travel fees, in maintenance and acquisition of software, out of contract costs as well as in contracted and temporary services.
On the possible reduction of the annual number of sessions of the Preparatory Commission and its subsidiary bodies from 2003 onwards, the Group maintains its previously stated view. Furthermore the Group wishes to underline the importance of the proposal made by WGB with regard to the reduction of meetings in this subsidiary body, contained in document CTBT/WGB-19/1. The Group likewise takes note of the four options and their implications presented by the Focal Point in his document dated 4 September. We would like to express our appreciation to the Focal Point in Working Group A, Mr. Mohamad H. Daryaei, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for his comprehensive paper on this issue and encourages Member States to consider it as a basis for a future agreement.
The Group reiterates its opinion that the Human Resources issues in the PTS should be treated in an open and transparent manner. In our view the External Evaluation Report should be considered only as one aspect of this issue.
The Group notes that the agreement on the Commission's non-career policy as outlined in its staff rules and regulations and the administrative directive on recruitment, appointment, reappointment and tenure, have been achieved through a delicate political balance, thus the Group believes that the non-career policy, especially the seven-year limit on service with the PTS, should not change. Therefore, the Group also strongly believes that the status quo on this issue be maintained.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.