STATEMENT BY THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA DURING THE THIRTY-SIXTH
SESSION OF WORKING GROUP A, 5 - 9 OCTOBER 2009 DELIVERED BY HE AMBASSADOR EUGENIO
MARIA CURIA, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ARGENTINA
the outset, let me express on behalf of the States Signatories of the G77 and
China our satisfaction in seeing you, Ambassador Rimdap, chairing Working Group
A at its thirty-sixth session.
On behalf of the Group of 77 and China,
allow me to express our deepest condolences to the people and government of Indonesia
for the loss of many lives and properties due to the devastating earthquake.
Group would also wish to express our sympathy and profound sentiments of sadness
to the people and government of Samoa for the tragic loss of lives and properties
caused by the recent tsunami.
The Group would also like to thank the Executive
Secretary, Ambassador Tibor Toth for the update on the non-verification related
activities of the PTS for the period May to August 2009, as contained in document
CTBT/ES/2009/3, as well as his oral remarks in the opening session of the current
The Group notes the further progress that has been made towards
bringing the CTBT to its much-desired universal status with the latest signature
and ratification of the Treaty by St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
As regard to item 2 of the agenda, on the Non-verification related
activities of the PTS, the Group takes note of the Chief of Internal Audit's commencement
of duties and re-affirms its commitment and support to her during the execution
of her duties. The Group is encouraged to note that a review of the internal oversight
mechanisms, comparing these against best practices with other United Nations organizations
was initiated and requests the PTS to keep States Signatories apprised of the
results of the consultancy work on the feasibility study on the possible transition
to IPSAS. The Group would appreciate, in particular, that the results of this
study include a detailed outline of the expected benefits and efficiency gains
to be derived from the transition to IPSAS and the adoption of a new ERP.
Group is pleased that the Pilot Project has facilitated the participation of five
(5) more experts from developing countries in the technical meetings of the Preparatory
Commission this year. This brings to nine (9) the total number of technical experts
from developing countries participating in the meetings. The Group conveys its
appreciation to States Signatories and the OPEC Fund whose voluntary contributions
have made this possible. The Group however would like to recall its position on
this issue as expressed in the statement of Working Group B in its thirty-third
Session and reiterates the need to observe equitable geographic distribution in
the selection process for participation in the pilot project.
notes that as of 2 September 2009, the collection of assessed contribution for
2009 amounted to 69, 9% of the US dollar portion and 51, 7% of the Euro portion.
On the same in 2008, the collection rates were 61, 0% of the US dollar portion
and 57, 4% of the Euro portion. The Group welcomes the payment of a large portion
of outstanding arrears by some States Signatories throughout the year and in particular
the recent payment made by Brazil.
Turning now to
Agenda Item 3, on the Advisory Group recommendations, the Group would like to
congratulate the new Chair of the AG, Sir Michael Weston, for the assumption of
his new duties, and to thank him for introducing the Report of the 33rd Session
of the AG. The Group believes that this report demonstrates once more the usefulness
of the AG as a source of expert analysis and advice on the basis of a broad array
of background and expertise. In this regard the Group endorses and supports all
recommendations issued by the AG, with the following observations.
Group shares, in particular, the various concerns and observations expressed by
the AG regarding the use of Consultants and GTAs for tasks typical of regular
staff, and the need for full transparency and justification in their recruitment
and use. In this regard, the Group requests the Secretariat to ensure that the
regular reports on the personnel situation henceforth include comprehensive information
on consultants and GTAs, including job description, length of contract and nationality.
As to the discussions held by the AG on the Revised Draft Programme and
Budget for 2010, the Group notes the explanation provided to the AG as regards
the intention to exclude the proposed item of expenditure "General Assistance
- Professional" from the Final Draft Budget. The Group nevertheless underscores
that the practice of using consultants for tasks that should be undertaken by
regular staff is inadequate and should be phased out.
regards item 4 of the agenda, on Accounts of the Preparatory Commission for 2008,
as contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.998, the Group takes note of the "letter
of comfort" of the External Auditor on the Provident Fund (CTBT/PTS/INF. 1027)
stating the External Auditor's satisfaction with the accuracy of payments to the
Turning now to item 5 of the agenda, namely the Final
Draft Programme and Budget for 2010 as contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1000/Rev.1
the Group has on many occasions stated that the revised budget proposal as well
as future budgets need to be within the frame of zero real growth and the PTS
should continue to explore any further reductions, savings and efficiency measures.
The Group has consistently emphasized that the following key elements
should be taken into account in the current and future budgetary cycles of the
PrepCom with reference to the verification-related activities of the PTS, namely;
- the mandate of the PrepCom on the provisional operation of the system; -
the current well-advanced status of the verification system, and in particular
of the IMS; - the need to minimize the financial burden to be borne by States
Signatories; and - the actual prospects for entry into force of the Treaty.
In addition to these comments, Mr. Chairman, the Group of 77 and China
also recalls and reaffirms its comments on the Draft Programme and Budget for
2010 in its statement to the last Joint Meeting of Working Groups A and B.
taking cognizance of the inclusion of Working Groups A and B recommendations on
document CTBT/PTS/INF.1017 the Group is concerned that instead of exploring all
possible avenues to ensure the required level of qualified human resources within
the Organisation, the PTS has reverted back to the funding of consultants which
poses a challenge to containing staff cost increases and does not address the
shortage of qualified human resources in the long term. The Group also recalls
that, as previously stated, it is open to consider alternatives that would enable
the PTS to have greater flexibility to address its staff needs, as long as such
alternatives include provisions to ensure transparency, in particular as regards
the selection criteria and geographical distribution.
regards item 6.1 of the agenda, on the proposed 2009 budgetary transfers, the
Group is concerned by the proposal to transfer US$ 2 700 000 from the PCA budget
to the CIF, in order to fund unforeseen additional installation costs of IMS Stations.
The Group underscores, in particular, that the proposal would mean that nearly
3% of the overall budget would be shifted to the CIF-I. In principle, the Group
believes that the tendency to fund certain items, in particular the CIF, through
mechanisms extraneous to the normal budgeting process undermines the transparency
and credibility of the regular budget as a guide for resource distribution based
on the priorities set by the Policy Making Organs. More specifically, the Group
underlines that, in view of the excessive number of stations whose installation
or maintenance work will require more resources than originally budgeted, additional
justification should be provided by the Secretariat as to the unforeseen circumstances
that caused such increases.
Pertaining to the mechanism to manage the
PCA cost, the Group would like to thank the PTS for its clarification on this
matter (CTBT/PTS/INF.1011/Rev.1). However, the group is still concerned that some
of the proposed measures aimed at lowering the costs for PCAs could instead lead
to an increase in these costs.
The Group believes that the proposed standardization
of PCA contracts is positive in principle, but it recalls that the standardization
of PCA contracts should not prevent the PTS and station operators from addressing
specific factors that may influence their respective operation.
to item 8 of the agenda, pertaining to the status of on-site inspection, inspectors
and inspection assistants the Group thanks the PTS for the document contained
in CTBT/PTS/INF.1036, status of OSI Inspectors and Inspection assistants. The
Group takes note of the fact that the PTS has taken into account the lessons learned
during the planning preparation and conduct of the 2008 Integrated Field Exercise.
As regards item 11 on the agenda, the schedule of
sessions of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies in 2010, the Group believes
that experience in the last two years has shown that through further streamlining,
the annual program of work of WGB can be carried out in two sessions per year,
without the need for additional sessions. While recalling the agreement to that
effect reached at the last Session of Working Group B, the Group further believes
that the joint working group A and B meeting proposed for 31 May 2010 should be
held in conjunction with the scheduled Working Group A meeting during June 2010.
The Group is of the view that the dates of the 35th Session of the Advisory
Group should be held 6-9 September 2010 instead of the proposed dates of 13-17
September 2010 in order to avoid overlap between sessions of the AG and meetings
of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Group will continue to
work constructively to find a consensus decision on the schedule of meetings for