Mr Chairman,

1. Let me reiterate on behalf of the States Signatories of the Group of 77 and China, our satisfaction in seeing you chair Working Group B at its Thirty-Ninth Session. The Group is certain that under your stewardship, WGB will engage in fruitful deliberations and I assure you of our full cooperation in that regard.

2. With regards to the issue of the method of work of Working Group B, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the improvements introduced by the PTS and the informal technical briefings provided by the Secretariat prior to this Session. The Group believes that through this method of work, more time can be afforded to the long standing issues on the agenda of WGB.

3. The Group wishes to once more express its appreciation to all States Signatories which contribute voluntarily to the pilot project for financing the participation of technical experts from developing countries in official technical meetings of the Commission. The Group regards this project as a valuable initiative, as it allows all States Signatories to participate fully in the verification regime of the CTBTO. The Group would therefore like to encourage the PTS to continue exploring ways to ensure the sustainment of this project, as well as seek new ways to increase the participation of technical experts partaking in this project.

Mr Chairman,

4. The Group thanks the Executive Secretary for his written report on the progress in the implementation of the verification-related work programme for the period January-June 2012, as well as for the oral report delivered during the present session of WGB. With regard to the current status of the verification system, the Group notes that, as of 30 June 2012, a total of 271 international monitoring stations and radionuclide laboratories have already been certified.

5. In this regard, the Group would like to reiterate that a more cautious approach on the use of resources be applied and that a balanced approach is needed in the allocation of funds, primarily safeguarding investments already made and work already in progress. This will allow for the correction and adjustment of pace in the imbalance that already exists between the three main dimensions, namely the IMS, the IDC and the OSI.

6. The Group also wishes to express its appreciation to the States that through voluntary contributions are assisting the PTS to continue working on the installations of new stations of the IMS. The Group invites States that are in a position to do so, to continue to consider making these contributions as a mechanism to assist the Preparatory Commission to fulfil its mandate of making all necessary preparations to ensure the operationalization of the Treaty's verification regime at entry into force.

Mr Chairman,

7. As regards to the verification-related aspects of the Programme and Budget for 2013, the Group of 77 and China, has always underpinned its position on budgetary matters on 4 key elements and the Group has consistently called for a strict observance of a zero real growth budget policy.

8. During the Working Group A Session, the Group of 77 and China had asked the Secretariat for an Information Paper on the proposed upgrades of the storage area network (SAN) infrastructure, including other technical issues which should be considered by Working Group B during this session but to date, no Information Paper has been released by the PTS.

9. The Group of 77 and China is concerned by the lack of appropriate justification for the increases in items of expenditure in comparison with the 2012 Budget, which has resulted in a 1.7 per cent increase in the envisaged draft initial budget proposal for 2013 and the Group encourages the Secretariat to re-prioritize its activities for 2013, and to present such cost adjustments to States Signatories as timely as possible.

Mr Chairman,

10. On the issue of on-site inspection, the Group of 77 and China is pleased by the encouraging prospects for a successful and effective Integrated Field Exercise (IFE14). The Group therefore encourages Working Group B to continue discussions to further develop the draft OSI Operational Manual. WGB in its previous session noted that in order to allow for training of surrogate inspectors by early 2013, the IFE will require the timely availability of a draft OSI Operational Manual suitable for testing through the exercise. States Signatories are therefore encouraged during this session to capitalize on the working modalities previously agreed during the Thirty-Sixth Session of WGB.

11. Capacity building and training is considered vitally important by the Group of 77 and China and it commends the Secretariat for its continued efforts to increase the capabilities of all States Signatories to participate in the verification regimes through its NDC development workshops, NDC capacity building training courses and expert visits in the field for on the job training. The Group therefore reiterates that capacity building activities should be funded through the Regular Budget and not as one of the activities included in the envisaged increase of the 2013 draft Budget.

Mr Chairman,

12. We have a full and extensive work programme ahead of us during this session and the Group and 77 and China looks forward to working with you and all the respective Task Leaders over the next coming three weeks.

I thank you.

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