Vienna, 7 November 2016
Mr. Chairperson,

1. The Group of 77 and China would like to reiterate the expression of its support and cooperation to your leadership, Ambassador ISTRATE, as we approach the end of this year of the 20th Anniversary of the Treaty and an active one for the Preparatory Commission.

2. The Group would also like to welcome the commitment and tireless work of the Executive Secretary, Mr Lassina Zerbo, and his team at the Provisional Technical Secretariat, as was demonstrated this year with several activities marking the Anniversary. In this regard, the Group would like to take this opportunity to express its strong support to the renewal of the appointment of the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, recalling that Dr. Zerbo is the first national from the Group of 77 to be elected to the highest office in this important Organization. The Group wishes to underscore the leadership demonstrated by Dr. Zerbo, as an African scientist at the helm of this important institution. The Group believes that close, transparent and frequent dialogue with all State Signatories is the essential condition for a successful mandate and wishes to continue to engage constructively in a fruitful partnership with the Executive Secretary and the staff of the Provisional Technical Secretariat.

Mr. Chairperson,

3. With regard to the issues for consideration of this meeting, the Group thanks the Executive Secretary 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.

4. The Group would like to recognize as well that, once again, the new ratifications of the Treaty in this past six months, standing at this point at 166, have come from developing countries and members of the Group of 77 and China, namely the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the Kingdom of Swaziland, are each a step forward in the process of achieving the shared goal of universalization of the Treaty.

Mr Chairperson,

5. The Group takes note of the report of Working Group A (WGA) at its Fiftieth Session and the recommendations contained therein, and thanks its Chairperson, Ambassador OTHMAN, for his leadership and transparency in conducting its deliberations, including through frequent and timely briefings as well as informal consultations.

6. The Group welcomes the recommendations made by WGA and stands ready to adopt a decision on the 2017 Update Budget Proposal as well as on other financial and budgetary decisions contained in its report CTBT/PC-47/WGA/1. With regard the application of the 2014 cash surplus for the financing of the establishment of a permanent replacement for the ESMF and capacity-building activities, the Group considers the draft decisions before this Preparatory Commission offer a good basis for further dialogue in order to achieve consensus in this session. Regarding the implementation of the new compensation package approved by the UN General Assembly, the Group appreciates the latest information provided by the PTS in this regard, which will allow us to make a better informed decision in this session.

Mr. Chairperson,

7. The Group would like to thank Dr. Schulze for his commitment in leading the Working Group B (WGB) at its Forty-Seventh Session, as well as for his efforts towards further transparency and improving gender balance and geographical representation among Task- and Working Group Leaders. The Group regrets that the Working Group B was unable, to have consensus for the adoption of its report and reiterates its view on the need for decisions and recommendations to be made regularly at the subsidiary bodies of the Preparatory Commission in keeping with its role to provide timely and effective guidance concerning the organization and work of the CTBTO.

8. 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 Treaty’s verification regime, and would like to note, in particular, the growing number of activities hosted by members of the Group in all regions. The Group reiterates its position that capacity-building activities should be funded in a sufficient manner through the Regular Budget.

9. The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Advisory Group and its Chairman, Mr. Michael Weston, for their able and dedicated work, and takes note of the report of the Advisory Group (AG) at its Forty-Fifth Session, including its recommendations.

Finally Mr. Chairperson,

10. 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 and move forward on issues in the agenda of Working Group A and of Working Group B. The Group believes that dialogue and sharing of information are necessary tools in allowing States Signatories to make decisions in an effective and expeditious manner, and urges all parties to extreme their flexibility in order to achieve consensus, as needed.

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

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