Mr Chairman,

1. The Group of 77 and China is pleased to see you chair the Forty-Third Session of Working Group B. The Group would like to thank you for your work ahead of the WGB and for your dedication to the Treaty since its negotiations. The Group trusts that the next two weeks will provide States Signatories with a good opportunity to engage in productive discussions, in the most efficient manner. I assure you of the full cooperation of the Group to this end.

2. The Group would like to thank the Executive Secretary for his written report on progress in the implementation of the verification related activities for the period January to June 2014, as well as for his opening remarks.

3. The Group also thanks the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) for the informal technical briefing provided to States Signatories on 16 June prior to the current session of Working Group B. As stated during the previous session of Working Group B, the Group notes with satisfaction that, as requested by States Signatories, these informal technical briefings are now focusing on topics on which recommendations or where substantive guidance are to be expected.

Mr Chairman,

4. The Group reiterates its principled position on the importance of promoting a balanced approach among the three Major Programmes of the verification regime, namely the International Monitoring System (IMS), the International Data Centre and On-Site Inspection (OSI). To this end, it calls once more on the PTS to reassess its priorities and to assign resources accordingly, seeking the necessary efficiencies in the process, so that the CTBT verification regime is balanced and coherent, as well as robust while efficient.

5. On specific verification related aspects falling under the purview of the activities conducted by the PTS, the Group would like to make the following remarks:

(1) We welcome the fact that, as reported by the PTS, the data availability of certified IMS stations has continued to hold steady.

(2) The Group believes that science and technology, together with capacity building, play a key role in addressing development challenges across a wide range of issues, including the Millennium Development Goals. In this regard, we also welcome the diverse activities conducted by the PTS in the area of capacity building and training. The Group appreciates the efforts of the PTS to enhance the capabilities of States Signatories through its National Data Centre (NDC) development workshops and, in this regard, the Group notes with satisfaction the training events carried out at NDCs, the station operator courses and the technical workshops. The Group encourages the PTS to continue to pursue and to enhance this kind of activities, which are of the utmost importance in the development of the national capacities of States Signatories that are required in the build-up and long term sustainment of the Treaty’s verification regime.

(3) On a related note, the Group notes with interest the announcement by the Executive Secretary during the second annual CTBT Academic Forum, which took place last May, on the creation of CTBT Fellowships for advanced research on the Treaty and its verification regime, including the nexus between science and diplomacy.

(4) The Group notes with satisfaction the progress reported by the Executive Secretary in the preparatory work leading to the Integrated Field Exercise (IFE) which will take place in Jordan in November 2014. We reiterate the importance conferred by our Group to the upcoming IFE, in terms of its contribution to the development of the OSI component of the verification regime and of the latter as a whole. We encourage the PTS to keep States Signatories informed of relevant developments.

(5) Regarding the IMS, the Group takes note of the activities undertaken by the PTS during the reporting period. Bearing in mind the advanced stage of the build-up of the IMS, the Group reiterates its position that a balanced approach is needed in the allocation of funds, safeguarding investments already made, work in progress and the advancement of the IMS. In this regard, the Group takes note with satisfaction of the activities reported under the section pertaining to the support of monitoring facilities.

(6) Regarding the management of life cycle costs, including post-certification activity (PCA) contracts for certified IMS stations, the Group takes note of the continued activities of the PTS in the standardization of the services provided under PCA contracts and reiterates its call on all States Signatories to cooperate with the PTS in a joint effort to lower life cycle costs, including those relating to PCAs.

6. To conclude, Mr Chairman, let me say that the Group of 77 and China looks forward to working with you and the Task Leaders in a constructive and engaged manner, so that progress can be made on the different issues on the agenda of this Working Group.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

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