STATEMENT BY THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA DURING THE FORTY-SECOND SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMISSION, DELIVERED BY DELIVERED BY MS MADURIKA WENINGER, MINISTER, PERMANENT MISSION OF SRI LANKA
1. The Group of 77 and China is pleased to see you, Ambassador Ozawa, chairing the Forty-Second Session of the Preparatory Commission. The Group takes this opportunity to renew to you the assurances of its full support and cooperation.
2. The Group welcomes the ratification by Niue in March 2014, bringing the number of ratifications to the Treaty to 162, as part of the process of bringing the CTBT to its much desired universal status, since the Forty-First Session of the Preparatory Commission.
3. The Group takes note of the fact that the Group of Eminent Persons, which was established upon the initiative of the Executive Secretary, met in Stockholm, Sweden, in April this year.
4. The Group of 77 and China welcomes the presence of the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, and takes note of the efforts by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in promoting the universalization and entry into force of the CTBT. The Group is convinced that her presence in this session stresses the relevance and importance attached to the CTBT, within the international framework related to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, with the ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons globally.
5. The Group thanks the Executive Secretary, Mr Lassina Zerbo, for his opening remarks and takes note of his reports on the verification and non-verification-related activities of the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Commission; as well as of the Annual Report for 2013.
6. The Group takes note of the report of Working Group A (WGA) at its Forty-Fifth Session and of the recommendations contained therein, and thanks its Chairman, Ambassador Azeez, for deftly guiding the deliberations. The Group of 77 and China has already expressed its views on the substantive issues dwelt on in this report in its statement at the May session of Working Group A. The Group reiterates its call on host States and on the PTS to work together to curb the increase of fixed costs resulting from the increase of related costs in post-certification activities (PCA).
7. The Group takes note of the report of Working Group B (WGB) at its Forty-Second Session, and takes this opportunity to reiterate the importance it attaches to capacity building and training as a means of improving the ability of States Signatories to fully participate in the Treaty’s verification regime. The Group appreciates the efforts of the PTS aimed at enhancing the technical capabilities of States Signatories in CTBT related technologies, and encourages the PTS to further pursue these efforts with a view to ensuring the widest possible participation of developing countries in the programmes offered by the PTS in the field of capacity building and training. On the duration of WGB sessions, the Group is of the view that the time allocated to them is sufficient to address the different technical issues under consideration. The Group commends the Chairman of Working Group B and the Task Leaders for the efficient use of the time assigned to the Forty-Second Session of WGB, and reiterates its view that the duration of WGB sessions should not be an obstacle for the participation of experts from developing countries.
8. The group welcomes the successful launch of the IPSAS-compliant Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system on 5 May 2014. We congratulate the PTS that the project was completed on time, within budget and according to the plan. This can be considered as a major accomplishment of the Commission.
9. The Group of 77 and China takes note of the report of the Advisory Group (AG) at its Forty-Second Session and of its recommendations. We thank the Advisory Group and its Chairman, Mr Michael Weston, for their able and dedicated work. We reaffirm the importance of this body and its substantive contribution when considering the different topics brought to its attention.
10. We also take note of the initial draft 2015 Programme and Budget proposals, and thank the PTS for the briefing to States Signatories on 9 April. The Group notes that the 2015 proposal at 2015 prices entails a price adjustment of 1.7%, with a nominal increase of US$2.13 million with respect to the 2014 budget, and takes note of the fact that of the 1.7% proposed price adjustment, 0.9% pertains to adjustments which exclude costs with an impact on post-certification activities. The draft Programme and Budget for 2015 should be coherent with the current climate of financial austerity, avoiding increments in the contributions payable by States Signatories. As mentioned in our statement at the Forty-Fifth Session of WGA in May 2014, we look forward to a substantive discussion on this proposal in the meetings of the informal open-ended working group established by the Preparatory Commission at its Forty-First session.
11. The Group of 77 and China welcomes the initial discussions on the Chairs and Vice Chairs of Working Groups A and B of the Preparatory Commission during the informal consultations held by you, Mr. Chairman, prior to the current session. It is worth recalling that the Group of 77 and China has raised this issue during the past two sessions of the Preparatory Commission. The Group of 77 and China is of the view that Working Groups A and B are both subsidiary bodies of the Preparatory Commission and that, notwithstanding the different nature of the topics falling under the purview of one and the other, Working Groups A and B should be treated on an equal standing, in accordance with the basic principle of multilateralism. In this regard, the Group would like to recall that in accordance with Rule 7.2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Preparatory Commission, it is the responsibility of the latter to determine the composition, competence and rules of procedure of its subsidiary bodies.