On behalf of State Signatories of the Group of 77 and China, I am pleased to see you chairing the 24th session of Working Group A. I believe that under your able 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, 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.
The Group would like to express its views on the following issues, which will be considered during the present meeting of Working Group A.
We appreciate the activities undertaken by the PTS during 2002 in implementation of Major Programmes 6 (Policy Making Organs) and 7 (Administration, Coordination and Support). We would like to ask the PTS to continue assisting in promoting cooperation among States Signatories to facilitate exchanges of technologies used in the verification of the Treaty. The Group believes that training courses of the PTS are elements of utmost importance for the dissemination of information about different technologies and for the universalization of the Treaty and should be further coordinated, well funded and widely represented.
In consideration of guidance to the PTS for preparing the 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. 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 also take note that the proposed Budget for 2004 in document (CTBT/PTS/INF.586/Rev1) amounts to US$96 817 600, compared with $88 581 700 in 2003. We believe that the total amount of $ 96,817,600 for the 2004 budget is beyond the capability of Member States to pay their contributions.
While acknowledging the efforts of the PTS to make further economies and cost efficiencies by reprioritizing its activities and reallocating other resources (for example, closure of the New York office, expanded use of information technology and the integration of administrative systems, and streamlining its internal administration), in this regard we are of the opinion that further savings could be made in the following areas: since the PTS is at the stage of organizational transition, we believe that the funding for the Capital Investment Fund (CIF) should decrease substantially. For provisional operation and maintenance costs, we are of the view that Post Certification Costs should be reduced 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). The Group also believes that the budget for acquisition of hardware, the use of consultants and the travel costs should decrease.
The Group believes that the Human Resources issues in the PTS should continue to be treated in an open and transparent approach according to the existing staff rules and regulations. Therefore, the Group strongly support 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 not 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. An appeal against the decision of non-extension with the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILOAT) has been launched. We believe that the process of examining of this decision by ILOAT should be accelerated by the PTS and should be done in a very short period of time. Although it's the prerogative of The Executive Secretary to make some exceptions to the service limit in accordance with the of Administrative Directive No. 20 (Rev.2), in order to retain essential expertise or memory in the PTS, but these exception shall be done in absolute minimum cases in accordance with the Administrative Directive No. 20 (Rev.2), and WGA reports. These exceptions shall be reported to the Twenty-First Session of the Commission in November 2003.
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.
The Group takes note of the proposal of the PTS in document (CTBT/PTS/INF.620) on the issue of Costs of Capital Replacement of Certified IMS stations on a longer term basis. The Group will carefully consider this proposal in the light of its financial implications.
We would like to reaffirm our commitment 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". We take note of the updated status report of the PTS (CTBT/PTS/INF.249/Rev.3).
The G-77 and China welcomes the acknowledgement made by the last session of the Article XIV Conference, held in Vienna from 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", in which Colombia made a proposal regarding the need to release its arrears, which would help the country in overcoming its constitutional impediment to ratify the Treaty, allowing the immediate deposit of the instrument of ratification of the Treaty as an Annex II country.
Participating States in Conference expressed appreciation for the commitment expressed by Colombia to ratification of the Treaty and expressed their interest in finding a solution to its particular impediments. At the same time, with regard to the concrete proposal made, participating States noted that it could have various implications and required further discussion. Participating States suggested that the issue should be discussed further in the context of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and its subsidiary bodies, with the advice of the Provisional Technical Secretariat.
The Group supports the consideration of this issue.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.