STATEMENT OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA DURING THE JOINT MEETING
OF WGA AND WGB, DELIVERED BY H.E. AMBASSADOR SAYED ELAMIN, PR OF SUDAN ON 21
At the outset, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, I would like to thank
both chairpersons of Working Groups A and B for conveneing this joint meeting.
The Group would also like to thank the Executive Secretary for his oral report.
Initial Draft Programme and Budget proposals for 2008
Regarding the draft Budget proposals for 2008 as contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.880
the Group would like to express the following general remarks:
The Group shares the view that as indicated by the PTS, if the current approach
toward program and budget continues, there would be more stress not only on
2008 budget but also on the budget of the future years. In this context, the
Group believes that we need a realistic and reasonable approach rather than
talking about ambitious or conservative approaches. To avoid the future challenges,
we need to review and change our assumptions, taking into account the realities.
Changing the tactics would not be helpful in this regard. In such a review,
three key elements should be highlighted;
- the current status of the verification system,
- the mandate of the PrepCom, and
- the actual prospect of Entry Into Force of the Treaty.
Regarding the current status of the verification system, 10 years after
the establishment of the PrepCom, the Group takes note that the advanced phase
of the build-up of the verification system is in place. The reaction of the
system to the 9 October 2006 event demonstrated this reality very well. Although
this is not the end of our goal, nobody can deny that we can rely very much
on the current arrangements. There is no doubt that through an incremental and
smooth approach, the verification regime could be improved.
On the mandate of the PrepCom, we need to come back to the key concept of
"provisional operation" in the Treaty. As envisaged in the resolution
of the establishment of the PrepCom, the main task of the PrepCom is to establish
the verification system as "to operate provisionally as necessary the NDC
and the IMS networks, provided for in the Treaty." The Group believes that
if the mandate of the PrepCom be fully observed, the heavy burden on the Programme
and Budget would be substantially removed. This is a reality that the system
now operates almost in full rather than provisional, therefore it has put a
great financial burden on Signatory States, regardless of its legal implications.
The last key element which should be highlighted is the actual prospect
of entry into force of the Treaty. According to the mandate given to the PrepCom,
"The Commission shall between the time the Treaty is opened for signature
and the conclusion of the initial Session of the Conference of the States Parties,
establish the verification regime." Since there is no specific timeline
for the entry into force of the Treaty, therefore no specific timeframe has
been defined for the completion of the verification regime. Saying so, it is
up to the States Signatories to have an estimate on this issue, taking into
account the international political environment and current realities. As indicated
before, fortunately the verification regime has been nearly completed and we
are now in the process of its improvement. We should also consider this reality
that speeding up the completion of the system and making it operational would
lead to more costs not only for the completion but also for the post-certification
activities (PCA) which is mainly maintenance of the system. This could be confirmed
as we face with new proposals to create a new capital investment fund for sustainment
of the system in addition to the recapitalization.
The Group believes that if this realistic and reasonable approach be taken,
the PTS will release from the budget burden. The PTS would not also be under
pressure regarding the human resources and difficulties on turn over of the
staff. In this context the Group urges the PTS to observe the seven-year service
limit for professional and internationally recruited General Service staff members.
The Group reiterates its view that it is important the seven-year limit is strictly
adhered to in spirit and letter.
Further to the above-mentioned key issues, we cannot ignore a very important
reality which is the non-payment by a major contributor of its financial obligations
to the PrepCom. The Group is very concerned that during the recent years near
$15 Million has not been paid by a major contributor. Such a situation, if continues,
would create a serious challenge to the CTBT verification regime and jeopardize
the future of the whole system. In this regard the Group urges this State Signatory
to reconsider its political position and selective approach to the Treaty, and
support fully the PrepCom.
The Group also believes that a balance should be established between all
elements of the verification regime.
At the end, The Group re-emphasizes that the real zero growth budget is
most important to the Group and should be applied to the 2008 Programme and
Budget. In the light of the above mentioned realities and review of the assumptions
the Group even expects that the Budget for 2008 and following years could be
decreased. In conclusion the G-77 and China would not be in a position at this
stage to accept the 2008 Programme and Budget pending a reduction and indentification
of savings in the budget.
2006 Programme and Budget Performance report
The Group takes note of the 2006 Programme and Budget Performance report
as contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.881 and thanks the PTS for preparing this
document. The group takes note that a total of 244 stations or 76% of the IMS
have been established at the end of 2006 and 190 (59%) of IMS stations are in
The Group also takes note that more than $15 Million of the 2006 Budget
has not been spent. The Group is of the view that the increasing rollover amount
of unspent budget accrued over the previous years indicates that the PTS would
need to prepare a more realistic and reasonable draft programme and budget for
2008 and future years.
Restructuring of the Provisional Technical Secretariat
The Group takes note that the restructuring of the PTS is ongoing and would
be finalized at the end of 2007. In this regard, the Group expresses its concern
that in spite of the previous briefings of the PTS to States Signatories, which
the restructuring of the PTS would lead to a reduction of the Budget, the initial
draft Programme and Budget for 2008 has been increased.
Any other business:
Record of Annual Declarations of Interests for Participants in WGB Meetings
The Group takes note of the Chairman proposal under the title of "Record
of Annual Declarations of Interests for Participants in WGB Meetings" dated
5 February 2007 and thanks him for preparing this paper.
The Group is aware that the decision on this proposal was taken in 28th
WGB meeting (5-16 February 2007) on the basis of "no objection" procedure.
However, the Group would like to receive more information on legal implications
of the above mentioned decision.