Statement of the G-77 and China during the 35th Session of
Working Group B (WGB) of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban
Treaty Organization, 16 August - 3 September 2010, delivered by H.E. Ambassador
Taous Feroukhi, PR of Algeria
At the outset, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, allow me to express our deepest condolences to the people and governments of China, Pakistan and Russia for the tragic loss of many lives and properties due to the devastating natural disasters, and assure them of the solidarity of the Group.
On behalf of the States Signatories of the Group of 77 and China, I would like to express our satisfaction in seeing you, chairing the 35th session of Working Group B. The Group is confident that under your guidance, WGB will continue to work in an effective and efficient manner.
The Group notes that since the 34th session of WGB, further progress has been made towards bringing the CTBT to its much-desired universal status, with the ratification by the Central African Republic and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, thus elevating the total number of ratifying States to 153.
As regards the programme of work, the Group takes note of the draft schedule of sessions of the Preparatory Commission and its subsidiary bodies for 2011 as contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1081/Rev.1, and would like to recall the agreement reached last year concerning the number of its regular sessions programmed for 2010.
In this respect, the Group believes that experience over the last two years has shown that, through further streamlining, the annual programme of work of WGB can be carried out in two sessions per year, without the need for additional sessions.
The Group strongly supports all efforts aimed at rationalizing and streamlining the methods of work of WGB. With this objective in mind, the Group believes that its work would strongly benefit from videoconferences, a tool that has proven to be an effective means of interactive involvement in other international organizations and that could help widen the scope of participation of experts - especially from developing
countries - thus enriching the work conducted within the CTBTO regime.
Regarding the implementation of the pilot project for financing the participation of technical experts from developing countries in WGB meetings, the Group takes note of the selection of 10 experts under this project in 2010. The Group seizes this opportunity to thank States Signatories for their voluntary contributions to finance this project as well as the PTS for its commendable efforts. The Group believes that, during its initial phase, the project has been a success, as it has contributed to a more sustained and continued participation of developing countries in the technical discussions of the Commission. The Group therefore believes that the time has come to consider ways and means to further expand the number of participants.
The Group thanks the Executive Secretary for the latest written report on the verification-related activities of the PTS as well as for the oral report delivered during this session. The Group also takes note of the report of the Secretariat on the status of its work on International Monitoring System stations, radionuclide laboratories and noble gas systems as of 30 June 2010 as contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.142/Rev.27.
The Group notes, in particular, that 248 out of the 269 international monitoring stations that had been installed as of 30 June 2010, have been certified; that 10 out of the 16 radionuclide laboratories have equally been certified; and that 26 out of the 40 noble gas systems have been installed. Likewise, the Group notes that the 269 international monitoring stations installed as of the cut-off date of the said report represent more than 80 per cent of the IMS network. The Group believes that priority should be given to protecting investments already made and to finalizing the installation of those stations for which work is already under way.
The Group reiterates its concerns over the imbalance in the attention given to the three main dimensions of the verification system, namely the International Monitoring System (IMS), the International Data Centre (IDC) and on-site inspections (OSI). The Group still believes that there is an excessive focus on station-building.
However, the Group takes note with satisfaction of the recent efforts conducted by the PTS to address this imbalance in the course of prioritization and distribution of resources across the three main dimensions of the verification system. The Group views these adjustments as a step forward in trying to respond to its concerns over the existing imbalance, and encourages the PTS to continue to seek efficiencies and revisit the prioritization across the Major Programmes in order to attain a verification regime that is balanced, coherent and efficient.
Regarding the IDC, the Group supports the attention given by the PTS to the introduction of measures relating to station performance/reliability and data availability, quality and timeliness, a matter identified by the Policy-Making Organs to be a priority. The steady expansion of the IMS has given rise to an unprecedented volume of data requiring processing by the IDC, thus imposing increasing demands on Secretariat staff. In previous sessions of WGB, the G77 and China has consistently called for realistic, sustainable, long-term solutions to address this situation, including the reallocation of staff and funds from other Major Programmes for this purpose, if necessary.
Regarding the OSI, the Group believes that, in order to build on the achievements of its work programme, this component of the verification regime should be further developed and, if necessary, adjusted in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Policy-Making Organs. This process should include a thorough assessment of the lessons derived from the Integrated Field Exercise conducted in Kazakhstan in 2008 (IFE08), as well as take due account of cost and sustainability considerations, within the prospects of the entry into force of the Treaty.
The Group believes that any definition of the level of 'OSI readiness' to be achieved prior to the Treaty's entry into force has to be fully developed and agreed by the Policy-Making Organs.
The Group takes note of CTBT/PTS/INF.1069/Rev.1, and adjustments made to the 2011 Programme and Budget draft proposals. The revised proposal, in keeping with a zero real-growth level compared to the 2010 Budget, provides a sound basis for the 2011 Programme and Budget, without precluding the possibility of identifying further savings and efficiency measures. This pragmatic approach becomes all the more necessary as the current economic and financial crisis impacts on States Signatories.
Finally, regarding capacity-building and training, the Group appreciates the continuing efforts conducted by the PTS aimed at enhancing the capability of all States to participate fully in the verification system. The Group notes recent NDC capacity-building and training workshops held in Kenya, and encourage similar endeavours that may help expand the capacity-building projects to enable all States Signatories to fully participate in the verification system, within the framework of the capacity-building activities carried out by the PTS.