At the outset, let me once more express the sincere appreciation of the State Signatories of the Group of 77 and China in seeing you chairing the 30th session, of Working Group A of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation in 2006. The Group believes that under your stewardship and guidance, discussions will lead to fruitful conclusions and I assure you of our full cooperation.
The Group takes note that three more States (Andorra, Armenia and Ethiopia) have ratified the Treaty. The Group would like to encourage all countries that have not yet signed and/or ratified the Treaty to do so without delay.
The Group would like to thank the Executive Secretary for his report on the implementation of Major Programmes 6 and 7 as contained in document CTBT/WGA-30/INF.1 as well as for his informative oral report.
The Group would like to commend the Executive Secretary and the PTS for convening the scientific symposium entitled, "CTBT: Synergies with Science, 1996-2006 and Beyond", held in Vienna from 31 August to 1 September 2006. The Group is of the view that the symposium provided a forum to exchange views and to facilitate an understanding of the different aspects involved regarding the CTBT's synergy with science.
The Group once again commends the Executive Secretary's outreach activities and meetings to promote the early entry into force of the Treaty.
The Group commends the Executive Secretary and the PTS's on-going efforts to assist State Signatories with special emphasis on training and development. The Group is of the view that the hosting of workshops and seminars enables developing countries to engage more actively in the work of the Commission.
The Group notes that as of 31 August 2006, the collection rates of assessed contributions for 2006 amounted to 72.2% of the US dollar portion and 71.0% of the euro portion and, for 2005, to 96.2%, and that 65 States Signatories had made full payments and 24 had made partial payments of the 2006 assessed contributions.
The Group reiterates its concern that the overall representation of developing countries in the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) remains unbalanced. It is critical that the PTS continue its efforts to increase the presence of staff members from developing countries in the PTS, especially women on all levels. The Group 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. In this regard, the Group requests the Executive Secretary to provide a separate report on the efforts made and the staff recruited from developing countries to every Prep Com meeting, particularly on the professional level.
The Group commends the PTS's efforts to observe the policy of establishing a seven-year service limit for professional and internationally recruited General Service staff members. The Group reiterates its view that it is important the seven-year limit is strictly adhered to in spirit and letter. The strict adherence to the seven-year term limit will provide developing countries with an opportunity to fill the vacancies in the PTS.
The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Provisional Technical Secretariat for the review of the final Draft 2007 Programme and Budget Proposals and hereby states its position:
(a) The Group is of the view the 2006 Programme and Budget increase was an exception that included increases to cover the costs associated with the VIC Security Enhancement Costs. The 2007 budget should be compared to the 2005 programme and budget which reflected zero real growth.
(b) The Group notes that the PTS has made efforts to present a budget within a realistic and reasonable financial framework. The Group remains concerned that the budget proposal does not reflect the principle of zero real growth. Once again, the Group reiterates its principled position that future budget proposals should reflect zero real growth.
(c) The Group takes note that the 2007 budget for the verification related programme is based on a number of factors, such as the PTS capacity to absorb new work, and the need to propose a budget that is realistic and reasonable to cover the cost of the build-up of the International Monitoring System. The Group appreciates the PTS efforts to engage State Signatories on any significant additional costs that the verification process may cause.
The Group would like to commend the PTS for issuing the report of the Advisory Group's recommendations as contained in document CTBT/AG/INF.2. The Group takes note of the recommendation by the Advisory Group that the PTS compile a comprehensive analysis of the consequences of increasing shortfalls in payments of assessed contributions, which would include various scenarios on the financial impact on the PTS and what actions should address the situation. The Group is of the view that such an analysis should take into consideration the severe financial constraints placed on developing countries.
The Group once again reiterates that the future draft schedule of Advisory Group and Working Group meetings should be arranged so that they do not overlap with other VIC meetings and at least be one month apart from each other.
More specifically and regarding the various recommendations of the Advisory Group, the G77 and China believes that the issues raised by the External Auditor following his review of Governance arrangements need more in depth consideration. The Group shares the view of the External Auditor that his role is to provide an audit opinion, not to be an oversight body. However, the Group is of the view that the Evaluation section has a distinct mandate aimed at supporting professional evaluation practices throughout the organization and to enhance the overall credibility and utility of the evaluation function in line with the Norms and Standards for Evaluation in the UN System and the orientations the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) of which the PTS is a member. The Group looks forward to receiving a report from the Executive Secretary on the measures he intends to undertake to strengthen the Internal Audit capacity, enhancing the visibility and authority of the audit recommendations and to improve co-ordination between Internal Audit and the Evaluation Section.
The Group recalls its previous position on this issue concerning the implementation of the final report of the external review team on the restructuring of the PTS. The Group commends that the PTS has conducted consultations in an open and transparent manner. The Group notes that the restructuring of the PTS is being implemented in accordance with the 'road map' contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.777. The Group commends the PTS for establishing a PTS-wide installation and certification task force to concentrate on the remaining build-up tasks.
At the outset, the Group of 77 and China would like to commend Mr André Gué, Chairperson of the Advisory Group for serving as Chairperson of the informal open-ended working group to consider the modalities for the financing of 9 experts from developing countries to attend WGB Sessions. The Group commends and expresses its sincere appreciation for the impartial and objective manner in which Mr Gué chaired the informal consultations. The Group expresses its appreciation to Mr Gué for his report to this session of the WGA on the outcome of the informal consultations.
The Group recalls the decision of the 25th Preparatory Commission as contained in document CTBT/PC-25/3 which recognised inter-alia the deficit in the participation by experts of developing countries, and decided, to request the WGA to examine the modalities, including financing, of this issue at its next session with a view to reaching a consensus on a recommendation to the Commission for a pilot project.
The Group reiterates that the objective of the Group's proposal is to enhance the participation of experts from developing countries in the meetings of Working Group B, thereby also contributing to building relevant capacities in this context. The Group remains steadfast in its conviction that experts of developing countries are unable to participate in WGB Sessions due to the severe socio-economic constraints placed on them. The Group is of the view that capacity building and participation are closely related issues that can not be easily separated.
The Group has revised its proposal twice during the informal consultations to take on board some of the concerns raised by State Signatories. The Group therefore requests that the 30th Session of Working Group A recommend to the 27th Session of the Preparatory Commission that a pilot project be established for an initial period of 3 years.
The Group is of the view that the CTBTO should, in every respect, reflect the universality of its signatory States and the widespread coverage of stations around the globe and the worldwide character of the IMS. Wider participation by experts of developing countries will make the organization more democratic, inclusive and representative. Most importantly, wider participation will ensure that the initial session of the Conference of the States Parties will be able to adopt all the manuals and other technical documents enumerated, inter alia, in paragraphs 14 and 15 of the Resolution establishing the Preparatory Commission.
The Group regards this issue of the utmost importance that requires further consultation, discussion and evaluation within the Group of 77 and China, and with all concerned State Signatories. The Group requests the WGA to recommend that the open-ended working group chaired by Mr André Gué continue discussions with a view to finding consensus on this important matter. The Group requests that this issue be included on the provisional agenda of the 27th Session of the Preparatory Commission in order for the Commission to make a decision to establish the mechanism to finance experts from developing countries from the Group of 77 and China.
The Group believes that the establishment of this mechanism will greatly enhance the capacity and reduce the deficit of participation of experts from developing countries to actively participate in WGB sessions. The attendance of these experts will facilitate meaningful discussions during WGB sessions that will promote the universality of the Treaty through shared knowledge and experience.
The Group takes note of the tentative schedule of meetings for 2007. The Group reiterates its view that these meetings should not, as far as possible, overlap with meetings of other UN bodies in Vienna. The Group is further of the view that consideration should be given to reducing the number and duration of the meetings of the policy-making organs as the current schedule of meetings places a considerable strain on developing countries to effectively participate in the meetings of the Policy Making Organs.
The Group notes that the Joint Sessions of Working Group A and Working Group B are not included in the tentative schedule of meetings for 2007. The Group recalls previously that there was broad agreement that the joint meetings provided a useful form for discussion of issues cutting across the mandates of both Working Groups. The Group also recalls that there was broad agreement that the current practice for such joint meetings, including reporting arrangements, was working well and should therefore continue. Therefore, consideration should be given that joint meetings are held in 2007.
The Group therefore believes that further consultations are required on the draft schedule of meetings of the Policy Making Organs's for 2007, as contained in document CTBT/PTSINF.827/Rev.1 dated 4 September 2006.
Thank you Chairperson