STATEMENT OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA DURING THE TWENTY-THIRD JOINT MEETING OF WORKING GROUPS A AND B OF THE PREPARATORY COMMISSION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY ORGANIZATION 20 MARCH 2015, DELIVERED BY H.E. AMBASSADOR ARMIN ANDEREYA, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF CHILE
1. The Group of 77 and China would like to thank you, Ambassador A.L.A Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, and Dr Joachim Schulze, for convening the Twenty-Fourth Joint Meeting of Working Groups A and B. We trust that this session will be a good opportunity for State Signatories to exchange views on the issues on its agenda. We assure the distinguished Co-Chairs of the full cooperation of the Group.
2. The Group also thanks the Executive Secretary, Dr Lassina Zerbo, for his opening statement.
3. The Group believes that it is important for Working Groups A and B to establish priorities and provide clear guidance to the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS), as the latter sets to work on the preparation of the draft Programme and Budget for 2016 as well as the draft biennial Programme and Budget 2016-2017.
4. In this regard, the Group reiterates its view that, in the preparation of the two Programme and Budget proposals, the Provisional Technical Secretariat has to keep in mind two important aspects: the global economic situation of austerity and the current perspective of the entry into force of the Treaty. In this spirit, the Group is confident that the PTS will suggest a programme driven budget that adheres to a zero growth policy.
5. The Group strongly encourages the PTS to seek synergies with States Signatories making extra budgetary contributions, which should go to activities that have been fully communicated to the subsidiary bodies and the Advisory Group, and then approved by the Preparatory Commission. In this regard, the Group is of the view that voluntary contributions and contributions in kind should support the regular activities of the PTS, as defined in the annual programmes which are agreed by consensus by the Preparatory Commission.
6. The Group believes that the process leading to the approval of the Programme and Budget should be rooted on robust, transparent and inclusive discussions. In this regard, the Group would like to request the timely issuance by the PTS of documents related to the Programme and Budget, and would also like to encourage the continuation of informal discussions as organised by the Chair of WGA, Ambassador A.L.A Azeez on this matter.
7. The Group of 77 and China continues to uphold the importance of capacity building and training and of the various activities carried out by the PTS in this field, aimed at increasing the capabilities of States Signatories to participate in the verification regime. The Group is convinced that all efforts pursued in the realms of capacity building and training will doubtlessly enhance the capability of all States to participate fully in the verification system.
8. Therefore, the Group reiterates its position that capacity-building activities should be funded in a sufficient manner through the Regular Budget. In this regard, and since allocations to capacity building activities are less than 10% of the current Regular Budget, the Group is of the view that any proposed savings should not harm those activities.
9. Regarding the methods of work, the Group would like to reiterate its position that meetings of Working Group B should remain within the limits of the current sessions, so as to allow for efficient consideration of issues currently on the agenda of Working Group B, while facilitating the attendance to the meetings by experts from capitals.