First of all, let me express the deep satisfaction of the State Signatories of the Group of 77 and China in seeing you chairing the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization in 2005. We all believe that under your chairmanship and guidance, discussions will lead to fruitful conclusions and I assure you of our full cooperation.
The Group takes note of the Executive Secretary's comprehensive written and oral reports. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Wolfgang Hoffmann for his leadership and personal contribution for the establishment and development of the Preparatory Commission during his tenure, and wish him every success in his future endeavours.
We are pleased to note that since the last session of the Preparatory Commission St. Kitts and Nevis has ratified the Treaty, and Bahamas has signed it. We are very grateful to those two countries and we would like to urge all countries that have not done so to sign and ratify the Treaty.
The Group would like to express its views on the following issues, which will be considered during the present meeting of the Preparatory Commission.
The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Provisional Technical
Secretariat for elaborating the budget proposal for 2006, and hereby
states its position:
a) The budget proposal should reflect zero real growth, with no overall programmatic or staff increase.
b) However, given the importance the Group attaches to Major Programme 4 (OSI), including the FE07 exercise, the substantive increase in the allocation of funds for this Major Programme should be maintained, by means of reallocations and adjustments in the other Major Programmes, especially Major Programme 1 (IMS), as was suggested by the Executive Secretary Ambassador Wolfgang Hoffmann, during the 27th Session of Working Group A. The Group notes with satisfaction that there was broad consensus by the States Signatories on this proposal.
c) Concerning budget implications of possible tsunami alert activities, the Group will express its opinion after careful examination of the Report to be presented by the PTS to the 25th session of WGB in September 2005 and after adoption of a decision on this issue.
d) Every effort should be made to absorb the allocations for security enhancements within the budget proposal.
e) The Group of 77 and China would like to request the Provisional Technical Secretariat to include allocation for the participation of experts from developing countries to the meetings of Working Group B in the budget proposal for 2006.
The Group of 77 and China would like to once again thank the
participants of the External Evaluation Team, who, under the leadership of
Ambassadors Rimdap and Starr, produced a sound document that is considered
a good basis for our deliberations. The report is being carefully examined
by Member States of the Group of 77 and China, and the Group will present
its comments in future occasions, especially in the joint WGA/WGB meetings
that will be convened to discuss the recommendations of the Report.
At this stage we would like to reiterate the position expressed by the Group at the inception of this exercise, to the effect that all recommendations of the External Evaluation Team's report must be thoroughly examined by WGA and WGB, and adopted by the PrepCom, before they can be implemented.
The Group of 77 and China looks forward to the discussion on the organization and methods of work of the Subsidiary Bodies of the Commission. Although the Group notes with appreciation the work that has been carried out by both Working Groups A and B, as well as by the Advisory Group, we believe that there is room for improvement.
One aspect of particular concern, that the Group of 77 and China expressed in previous occasions, is the small participation in Working Group B of experts from developing countries. In this regard, the Group requests the Provisional Technical Secretariat to examine ways and means to finance the participation of representatives from developing countries to WGB meetings, and this effort should be reflected in the Programme and Budget Proposal for 2006.
Concerning the Chairmanship of Working Group A, Working Group B and the Advisory Group, the Group of 77 and China has the following views:
a) The Group believes that the paramount criterion for the selection of Chairs for all three Groups should be that of competence. In this regard, it would be useful that the candidates to chair any of the three groups have some experience as active participants in the deliberations within that group.
b) There should be pre-established terms of tenure. The Group of 77 and China is flexible on the duration of the terms of tenure - that could be, in principle, of two or three years.
c) The Principle of Geographical Rotation must be observed, in order to take into due consideration the participation of developing countries. The Group of 77 and China would like to recall that this is an established Principle in the United Nations system.
d) The Group of 77 and China supports the view that the Chairs of the three groups must come from States that have good record in accession to international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments and preferably from countries that have ratified the Treaty.
e) Taking into consideration that the Chairmanship of Working Group A, Working Group B and the Advisory Group have been occupied by members of NAWE and Eastern Europe since the origin of the Organization, the next Chairman of Working Group A should preferably be a member of G77 and China.
The Group sees with concern that the suggestion that candidates to chair Working Group A, Working Group B and the Advisory Group should come from states that are up to date with the payment of their financial contributions to the Organization - a suggestion that, it must be recalled, was not accepted last year in the Decision containing the criteria for the selection of the Executive Secretary -, is now being proposed once again.
Let us recall that the above mentioned proposal is unprecedented in the United Nations system and that there is no reference in this respect in either the CTBT, its Protocol or the Rules of Procedure.
Thank you Madam Chair.