Allow me to express the Group of 77 and China's deep satisfaction to see you chairing Working Group A. As you are well aware, the Group has strongly defended the position that the next Chairman of WGA should be a member of the G-77 and China. We are confident that under your guidance and leadership we will achieve fruitful results in our deliberations. The Group of 77 and China would also like to express its appreciation to Ambassador Patricia Espinoza for her competent chairmanship of Working Group A.
The Group of 77 and China was very much pleased with the results of the fourth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), 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 Conference and the omission of disarmament and non-proliferation themes in the UN High Level Summit Report. In this scenario, the Declaration negotiated in Vienna under the leadership of Ambassador Deborah Stokes, and adopted in New York, is a glimmer of hope for all those countries that wish to free the world from the threat of nuclear weapons. The Group of 77 and China is looking forward to discussing further ways of promoting the Entry into Force of the CTBT.
In this regard, the Group would like to welcome into our midst Madagascar, Djibouti and Vanuatu, countries that have ratified the CTBT since the last session of Working Group A, as well as Lebanon that has recently signed it. These new additions contribute to the universalization of the Treaty. We take this opportunity to urge all countries that have not done so, especially those eleven listed under Annex II and whose ratification is necessary for entry into force, to sign and ratify the Treaty at the earliest possible date.
The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Executive Secretary for his reports on Major Programmes 6 and 7, as well as his informative oral report. The Group 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 that the overall representation of developing countries in the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) 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. REVIEW OF THE REVISED DRAFT 2006 PROGRAMME AND BUDGET PROPOSALS Mr. Chairman,
We thank the Secretariat for elaborating the revised budget proposal for 2006.
In this regard, the Group would like to make the following comments:
(a) Once again the Group of 77 and China reiterates its position that the budget proposal should reflect zero real growth. The Group also maintains the position that there should be no overall programmatic increases in the budget proposals.
(b) Given the importance it attaches to Major Programme 4 (On-Site Inspection), including the Integrated Field Exercise, the Group notes with appreciation the substantive increase proposed for this Major Programme and holds the view that this increase should be ensured by means of reallocations and adjustments in the other Major Programmes.
In reference to the Report of the External Evaluation Team, the Group of 77 and China would like to once again thank the participants of the Team who, under the leadership of Ambassadors Rimdap and Starr, produced a sound document that is considered a good basis for our deliberations.
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 in WGA and WGB, and adopted by the Preparatory Commission, before they can be implemented.
In this regard, the Group 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, but we would like to further examine the recommendation concerning the fusion of the IDC and IMS Divisions, as the Group is not convinced of the usefulness of this proposal The Group of 77 and China is looking forward to examining the Road Map that is being prepared by the Executive Secretary.
The Group of 77 and China notes with appreciation the work that has been carried out by both Working Groups A and B. The Group is concerned with the small participation of experts from developing countries in Working Group B meetings. Considering inputs for improvement, the Group would like to suggest that ways and means be considered to finance the participation of representatives from developing countries to WGB meetings. This is a widespread practice in the United Nations system, for example in the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and in the FAO in Rome, to mention just a few. We would like to propose that funds be made available in the budget to cover travel expenses for nine representatives of developing countries, three from Africa, three from Asia and three from Latin America and the Caribbean. These representatives would be elected within the Group of 77 and China and would participate in WGB meetings for a period of three years. At the end of each WGB meeting they would report back to the Group of 77 and China on the technical deliberations held.
Concerning the Chairmanship of both WGA and WGB, the Group suggests in principle a tenure of two to three years, taking into consideration equitable geographical rotation.
The Group welcomes the mainstreaming of the discussions on the Status of On-Site Inspectors and Inspector Assistants and looks forward to further progress in this issue. In this regard, the G-77 and China agrees that the creation of an open-ended group of interested States Signatories to follow up on these discussions, as proposed during the joint WGA/WGB meeting last February, would be an appropriate way to move forward. It is important to observe geographical balance in the composition of this Group.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.