1. First of all, let me once more express the satisfaction of the State Signatories of the Group of 77 and China in seeing you chairing this session of 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.
2. The Group of 77 and China is very much pleased with the results of the IV Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Treaty (Article XIV), held in New York from 21 to 23 September, as it evidenced the overwhelming support of all 117 participating countries to the Treaty and to its prompt entry into force. The majority of the statements deplored the lack of consensus on the 2005 NPT Review and the omission of disarmament and non-proliferation themes in the UN High Level Summit Report. In the past years, the threat of terrorism and proliferation of nuclear weapons seem to recommend a tightening up of the multilateral nuclear non-proliferation regime, which should be balanced by commensurate efforts in nuclear disarmament. In this scenario, where other conferences failed, the adoption of the Final Declaration negotiated in Vienna under the leadership of Ambassador Deborah Stokes, and adopted in New York, is a glimmer of hope. The Group of 77 and China is looking forward to discussing future ways of promoting the Entry into Force of the CTBT at the earliest possible date.
3. We are pleased to note that, since the last session of the Preparatory Commission, the Cook Islands, Djibouti, Madagascar and Vanuatu have ratified the Treaty, and Lebanon has signed it. We are very grateful to those countries and we would like to urge all countries that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty.
4. The Group takes note with appreciation of the Executive Secretary's comprehensive written and oral reports.
5. The Group would like to express its views on the following issues, which will be considered during the present meeting of the Preparatory Commission.
6. 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 Integrated Field Exercise, we are pleased to note that the substantive increase in the allocation of funds for this Major Programme is maintained.
c) Every effort should be made to absorb the allocations for security enhancements within the budget proposal, especially in view of the existing non-encumbered funds.
d) The Group of 77 and China would like to request the Provisional Technical Secretariat to include allocation for the participation of nine experts from developing countries to the meetings of Working Group B in the budget proposal for 2006. We believe that wider participation of experts from developing countries in Working Group B meetings would be beneficial to the work of the Organization.
7. In reference to the Report of the External Evaluation Team, the Group
of 77 and China closely followed the deliberations held during the joint
WGA/WGB meeting held during the last session of Working Group B, in
August. The Group is, to a large extent, in agreement with the
recommendations of the Report and we are looking forward to further
discussions on this agenda item.
8. The Group of 77 and China takes note of the road map prepared by the Executive Secretary for implementation of the recommendation on the redefinition of functions within the IMS and IDC Divsion. At this stage, the Group is not in a position to pronounce itself on the matter, and requests further consultations with the Secretariat. We would nevertheless like to make two preliminary considerations, concerning any decision that may be taken on this issue by the PrepCom in future occasions. Whatever redefinition of functions within the IMS and IDC Divisions should:
a) not exceed the budget of the present IMS and IDC Divisions; and
b) be in strict observance of the Treaty and its structure.
9. Concerning the composition of the Provisional Technical Secretariat, the Group of 77 and China is particularly satisfied that the seven year service limit for Professional and internationally recruited General Service staff members is being observed. Nevertheless, the Group notes with concern that the overall representation of developing countries in the Provisional Technical Secretariat remains unbalanced. In this regard, the Group would like to reiterate the need to increase the presence of staff members from developing countries in the PTS, and calls upon the Secretariat to give due attention to this criterion in the recruitment process of new staff members, who will replace those who have reached their service limit. The adequate representation of women should also be observed. The Group of 77 and China would like to request the Secretariat to report on efforts made on those two issues, for consideration at every session of the PrepCom.
10. 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.
11. 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. We welcomed the initiative of the Conference Services Section of the PTS to establish an video system whereby experts in the capitals can follow discussions live from Vienna via the internet. This is a positive step forward and a useful tool not only for developing countries, but for all signatory states of the CTBT. Nevertheless, Madam Chair, this initiative does not address the issue of inadequate participation by experts from developing countries, for it does not allow for negotiations and reactions from experts at home.
12. 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.
13. This is a widespread practice in the United Nations system, for example in the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Climate Change and in the FAO in Rome, to mention just a few, where funding is provided for the participation of a large number of delegates from developing countries to all negotiation instances, including the Conference of the Parties.
14. In the case of the CTBTO, the Group of 77 and China believes that the meetings of the Preparatory Commission, the Working Group A and the Advisory Group are well covered by diplomats from the Permanent Missions in Vienna. But in Working Group B, due to the very technical nature of discussions, it is imperative to have a significant participation of experts from the capitals.
15. We therefore would like to propose that budgetary funds be made available to cover travel expenses for nine experts designated by the Group of 77 and China, being three from Africa, three from Asia and three from Latin America and the Caribbean.
16. Concerning the Chairmanship of Working Group A, Working Group B and the Advisory Group, the G-77 and China has the following views:
a) The paramount criterion for the selection of Chairs for all three Groups should be that of competence.
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 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.
d) 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.
17. In this regard, the Group of 77 and China would like to express its deep satisfaction in having Ambassador Abdulkadir Bin Rimdap of Nigeria as the Chairman of Working Group A, thus observing the principle of geographical rotation in the Chairmanship of this Working Group.
Thank you Madam Chair.