Mr Chairman,

1. At the outset, allow me to extend the congratulations of the States Signatories of the Group of 77 and China to you on your re-election as Chairperson of Working Group B. The Group trusts that under your able guidance and that of your Friends and Task Leaders during the three weeks we will have fruitful deliberations and progress on the outstanding issues on the agenda of the Thirty-Eighth Session of Working Group B.

2. The Group is also pleased to note that, since the last session of the Preparatory Commission in November 2011, the CTBT has been ratified by Indonesia and the Republic of Guatemala both of which are members to the Group of 77 and China. Guatemala's ratification is another sign of commitment of the Latin American region towards a nuclear weapon free world, being the first region to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone under the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which in February 2012 will celebrate its 45th anniversary. The ratification by Indonesia marks a significant step towards the universalization of the Treaty, as Indonesia is one of the 44 States listed in Annex II to the CTBT, which must sign and ratify the Treaty before it can enter into force. The Group therefore encourages all countries that have not yet signed and ratified the Treaty, to follow suit.

Mr Chairman,

3. The Group also welcomes the new Director of the IMS Division, Ms Vorian Johanna Andren Maryssael, wishing her professional success during her tenure at the PTS. The Group takes this opportunity to renew the assurances of its full cooperation with the IMS Division in the fulfilment of the tasks falling under its responsibility, and looks forward to the continuation of a constructive and productive working relationship.

4. The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Executive Secretary for his oral report on 16 February 2012, as well as the Provisional Technical Secretariat for its work in preparation of this Session. The Group takes note of the report of the Executive Secretary on the Verification Related Activities for the period July-December 2011 (CTBT/ES/2011/4).

5. The Group also wishes to commend the Secretariat for the briefings provided prior to the commencement of the Thirty-Eighth Session of WGB. In accordance with the working modality agreed at the Thirty-Sixth Session of WGB, these informal video-streamed briefings are meant to assist in the preparation of WGB and maximise the productivity during sessions. The Group would therefore like to re-iterate that although the informal briefings are appreciated, the PTS needs to ensure that the content for future briefings is focused on those issues of Working Group B that are still pending and need to be discussed in the upcoming session.

Mr Chairman,

6. The Group of 77 and China would like to express its satisfaction with the improvements introduced in the method of work of Working Group B, an accomplishment that owes much to your consensus-building efforts. It is important that Working Group B capitalize on the extended hours allotted to its sessions and make efficient use of the time, in order to make sound progress on the OSI Operational Manual and the overall OSI component of the verification regime. The Group encourages the continuation of discussions thereon.

7. The Group reiterates its position that the definition of the level of "OSI readiness'" prior to the entry into force of the Treaty has to be fully developed and agreed by the Policy Making Organs.

8. Furthermore, the Group attaches importance to the IFE14 and considers the exercise an important work of the PTS in the coming years. F or the IFE 2014 to be successful it should be rooted in financial projections that are prudent and realistic and it should be based on an Operational Manual that is coherent, operative and well developed, in accordance with the criteria set by the Policy Making Organs. The PTS should design realistic scenarios based on the current level of development, actual needs as well as lessons learned from previous exercises so as to ensure achieving the desired objectives of IFE14.

9. The Group welcomes the Presentations by the PTS as well as the presentations from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Hungary and Ukraine on their respective proposals to host the IFE14. The Group looks forward to continued consultations and clarifications to enable State Signatories to make an informed decision on the host site for IFE14.

10. Regarding the implementation of the 2011 verification related work programme, the Group takes note of the progress made in the second half of 2011 in the installation and certification of monitoring stations. Bearing in mind the advanced stage of the build-up of the International Monitoring System the Group reiterates its position that a balanced approach is needed in the allocation of funds, safeguarding investments already made, work already in progress and the completion of the IMS.

11. The Group reaffirms its view that the capacity building and training programmes are essential to improve the ability of States Signatories to participate fully in the verification regime of the CTBT, as well as in PTS-related activities. Therefore, the Group welcomes the organization of recent capacity building activities by the PTS with wide participation of developing countries, including the International Noble Gas Experiment Workshop in Indonesia from 6-10 December 2011 and the Workshop on Infrasound Technology in Jordan from 30 October-4 November 2011.

Mr Chairman,

12. In 2011 the Group of 77 and China welcomed the commencement by the PTS of a detailed planning of the implementation of an IPSAS-compliant Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform, a project considered by the Group to be a priority in light of the expected discontinuance of the Integrated Management Information Systems (IMIS) and the prospective efficiency associated with the introduction of the ERP platform. The Group is looking forward to a progress report on the status of the legal framework in this context, which was expected by the beginning of 2012, as well as the training for IPSAS focal points and a first efficiency assessment.

Mr Chairman,

13. With regard to the Pilot Project for financing the participation of technical experts from developing countries in official technical meetings of the Commission, the Group expresses its satisfaction with the results of this Project to date. The Group regards this Project as a valuable and successful initiative, and we are pleased to see that as a result of this Project three new appointments were made to the team of Task Leaders. 14. In this context the Group believes that a combination of inter alia voluntary contributions from States Signatories and relevant institutions, and the use of surplus funds could constitute ways to ensure the sustainability of this Project. The Group calls upon the PTS to continue exploring other ways to ensure the sustainment of this Project.

Mr Chairman,

15. The Group of 77 and China is confident that the delegations attending the current session will engage in fruitful and relevant discussions that, hopefully, by the end of these deliberations, will result in substantial progress on the different issues on the agenda of Working Group B.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

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