Vienna, 14 June 2016
Mr Chairperson,

1. The Group of 77 and China is pleased to see you, Ambassador ISTRATE, chairing the Forty-Sixth Session of the Preparatory Commission. The Group takes this opportunity to renew to you the assurances of its full support and cooperation, and would like to express its congratulations on the excellent manner in which the High Level session on the 20th Anniversary of the Treaty was conducted.

2. The Group would also like to welcome the tireless work of the Executive Secretary, Mr Lassina Zerbo, and his team at the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Commission, to ensure the success of the High Level event. Returning to the agenda of the 46th session before us, 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.

3. The Group would like to recognize that all recent ratifications of the Treaty, standing at this point at 164, as well as requests to participate as Observers have come from developing countries, and are each a step forward in the process of bringing the CTBT to its much-desired universal status.

Mr Chairperson,

4. The Group takes note of the report of Working Group A (WGA) at its Forty-Ninth Session and the recommendations contained therein, and thanks its Chairperson, Ambassador OTHMAN, for his leadership.

5. The Group welcomes the recommendations made by WGA, for the PTS to assess the potential legal and financial implications associated with the classification of the Vienna International Centre in the accounts under IPSAS, and to develop a common understanding with the other Vienna based organizations and the host country and report to the next WGA session, after review by the Advisory Group. The Group believes the Commission can have a leadership role in finding the most conducive way for the Vienna-based organizations to address this issue.

6. The Group is ready to join consensus in accepting the Report of the External Auditor and the 2015 audited financial statements contained in the Financial Statements of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization for 2015 (CTBT/PTS/INF.1351), as recommended by the WGA in accordance with Financial Rule 12.3.01, and to take note of the letter of comfort on the Provident Fund for 2015 (CTBT/PTS/INF.1352).

7. Regarding the 2015 Human Resources Management Report, the Group, while recognizing the difficulties faced by the PTS, reiterates its principled position that striving for equitable geographic distribution as well as gender balance in the overall composition of the PTS is of utmost importance. The Group is encouraged by the renewed impulse given by the Executive Secretary to addressing the Human Resources issues that have been outstanding these past years, and welcomes the recommendation of WGA to consider upgrading the position of Chief of Human Resources to Director (D1) level, together with the consequent changes in the Human Resources Section, based on the results of the consultations held by the Chairperson of WGA. In that regard, the Group participated in the briefing organized by the Chair of WGA and is evaluating with interest the information put forward by the Executive Secretary on the upgrading of the position of chief, human resources section (CTBT/PTS/INF.1364), noting in particular that the Commission should take decision on this upgrade, and that such a decision should not have an impact on the Commissionís regular budget.

Mr. Chairperson,

8. The Group also takes note of the report of Working Group B (WGB) at its Forty-Sixth Session. The Group would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance it attaches to capacity building and training -and to the various activities carried out by the PTS in this field- as a means of improving the ability of States Signatories, in particular developing countries, to fully participate in the Treatyís verification regime, and would like to note, in particular, recent activities hosted by members of the Group, including China, Sri Lanka and South Africa. The Group reiterates its position that capacity-building activities should be funded in a sufficient manner through the Regular Budget.

9. 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 (IDC) and On-Site Inspection (OSI). To this end, the Group reaffirms the importance of assessing priorities and assigning resources accordingly, seeking the necessary efficiencies in the process.

10. The Group of 77 and China takes note of the report of the Advisory Group (AG) at its Forty-Fourth Session, including its recommendations. We thank the Advisory Group and its Chairman, Mr. Michael Weston, for their able and dedicated work. We take note of the assurances given by the PTS that all documentation for future meetings of the Working Groups and of the Advisory Group will be made available in a timely manner.

Finally Mr. Chairperson,

11. The Group would like to reiterate its appreciation to Ambassador Othman as well as Dr. Joachim Schulze for the informal consultations in different settings to bridge positions on issues in the agenda of Working Group A and of Working Group B. The Group believes that dialogue and sharing of information are important tools in allowing States Signatories to make decisions in an effective and expeditious manner.

Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

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