On behalf of the State Signatories of the Group of 77 and China, I am pleased to see you chairing the 24th Session of Working Group B. I believe that under your able chairmanship and guidance, discussions will lead to fruitful conclusions and I assure you of our full support and cooperation.
The Group of 77 and China extends its deepest condolences and sympathy to the governments and peoples of the countries of Southeast and South Asia and Africa devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004. The Group also would like to express deep sympathy with all other States whose nationals were lost in this disaster. The Group of 77 and China pays tribute to the governments and peoples around the world whose generosity and assistance saw beyond national boundaries.
The Group of 77 and China welcomes the discussion of civil and scientific applications of the CTBT verification technologies regarding natural disasters. The devastation caused by the tsunami of December 2004 underlines the urgency of the Entry into Force of the Treaty, in order to allow for the dissemination of information to the appropriate authorities that may save innumerable lives in the future. The Group of G-77 and China once again calls upon all countries that have not done so to sign and ratify the Treaty.
The Group of 77 and China wishes to thank Executive Secretary Wolfgang Hoffmann, not only for his comprehensive written and oral reports, but also for his service with the CTBTO Preparatory Commission since its inception. We appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) in implementing the mandate of the CTBTO PrepCom for the establishment of the international verification system at the Entry Into Force (EIF) of the Treaty, in conformity with the treaty provisions and PrepCom decisions.
The Group would like to express its views on the following issues to be considered during this session:
In considering the guidance to the PTS for preparing the verification-related work programme and budget elements for 2006, the Group of 77 and China would like to reiterate that any proposal for the verification-related work programme and budget elements for 2006 be guided by the principles that the Group of 77 and China has stated on previous occasions. Accordingly, the Group urges Working Group B to adjust the pace of its work and requests the PTS to prioritize and reallocate its financial resources between the 7 Major Programmes without overall programmatic increases.
The Group of 77 and China takes note of the progress in the review of the organizational structure of the PTS and looks forward to the recommendations of the External Review Team. We believe that preparing for the effective implementation of the CTBT and for the first session of the Conference of the States Parties are the main tasks of the PrepCom. These tasks encompass political and technical aspects. In any attempt at restructuring, the Entry Into Force of the Treaty remains the primary objective. Therefore, the purpose of the restructuring of the PTS should be to increase coordination, enhance efficiency and cost-effectiveness, in pursuit of the Entry Into Force of the Treaty. To this end, the experiences of the PTS should be duly considered. The G-77 and China reiterates that recommendations for this sensitive issue can only be implemented after they have been thoroughly reviewed in the Working Groups and decided upon by the PrepCom.
The Group of 77 and China considers that, according to the resolution establishing the PrepCom, technical testing and provisional operations performed, as necessary, pending the Entry Into Force of the Treaty, are a task of the PrepCom. We believe the operations of IMS stations before the EIF of the Treaty are only for the purpose of evaluating the performance and data quality of said stations, and are provisional in nature. The legal and financial concerns of State Signatories should also be taken into account in the negotiation of contracts for post certification activities. We continue to support the position that testing should be done on a strict timeframe.
The Group of 77 and China attaches great importance to the National Data Centers (NDCs) and welcomes the role of the PTS in promoting the NDCs of developing countries, especially with respect to the provision of hardware and software. More training courses for NDCs are required to provide the necessary capabilities for the States Signatories, especially for developing countries, to take greater advantage of the data, products and services of the IDC. The Group encourages wider participation of the developing countries in NDC and IDC training courses.
The Group of 77 and China considers that the elements of the verification regime of the treaty especially the IMS, IDC and OSI, are of equal importance. Due to the complexity of the OSI issues, active participation of all members is important. From our point of view the elaboration of the draft OSI Operational Manual, based on the Initial Draft Rolling Text (IDRT), remains a priority task for all members of the Commission. We appreciate the efforts of the PTS in supporting the elaboration of the draft On-Site Inspection (OSI) Operational Manual, especially the contribution of the PTS in chapter 6 on inspection of underground events, search logic, software checking, point of entry and base camp activities. We ask for the continuation and increased contribution of the PTS, based on the experience of workshops, tabletop exercises and field experiments, to the discussion of the Draft OSI Operational Manual.
From the point of view of the Group of 77 and China, the resources allocated to the OSI programme should enable the necessary preparations for the establishment of the OSI regime at Entry Into Force of the Treaty.
In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty, the text on the establishment of the PrepCom and the development of the work of the PTS, we note that information derived from the PTS, including IMS data and IDC products are confidential. We believe that adopting a Confidentiality Policy for the PTS is a real and urgent need. The confidentiality policy should create a strict regime for handling all data and information available to the PTS and should not be limited to the procedures of the PTS in classification of the information. In this regard, we take note of the paper of the PTS on its policies and procedures in handling the sensitive information in document CTBT/PTS/INF.614. This document should be further discussed. However, we believe that a comprehensive approach, including definition of information, list of types of information available to the PTS, criteria for the classification and declassification, procedures and modalities for handling classified information, changing the classification or designation of information, roles and responsibilities of States Signatories, is necessary for the confidentiality policy of the PTS.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.