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Topnews, Statements

17. February 2020

STATEMENT BY THE DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA DR J PITSWANE AT THE 54 SESSION OF WORKING GROUP B (WGB) OF THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST-BAN TREATY ORGANISATION (CTBTO)

Chairperson,

The South African delegation wishes to congratulate you, Dr. Joachim SCHULZE, on your appointment as Chair of the 54th Session of Working Group B (WGB), and I would like to assure you, the Vice Chairs and the Task Leaders of my delegation’s full cooperation and support during this Session. 

We also wish to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr Zerbo, and the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) for the work they have done in compiling the Verification Related Activities Report for the period July to December 2019 as well as the preparatory arrangements for this Session. 

The South African delegation associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the African Group and the Group of 77 and China, and would like to add a few comments in its national capacity.

Chairperson,

My delegation welcomes the report of the Executive Secretary and is pleased to note that data availability of certified International Monitoring System (IMS) stations remained high at 99% during the reporting period. South Africa also joins others in commending the work of the PTS and State Signatories that has resulted in the achievement of a significant milestone of certifying the 300th IMS facility during the reporting period. South Africa has also reached a significant milestone with the certification of the Radionuclide Laboratory located at Pelindaba in December last year. We are looking forward to collaborating further with the PTS in the implementation of the Post Certification Activities contract.

The South African delegation notes that during the current reporting period, the PTS continued to support monitoring facilities throughout its global network. Efforts to preserve these major investments, especially through empowering station operators are commendable. In this regard, South Africa has also benefited with the completion of the maintenance work and upgrade at the Infrasound Station (IS47) in Boshoff in the Free State Province. We encourage the PTS to finalise all the outstanding issues as identified in a technical report.

Chairperson,

South Africa believes in the importance of maintaining and expanding the preparedness of the CTBTO to implement the Treaty once it comes into force. In this regard, we are of the view that capacity building projects should continue and expand as they are key to achieving and maintaining the organisation’s and State Signatories preparedness. South Africa welcomes all efforts of the PTS to mainstream capacity building in all its projects. The focus on gender equality is commendable, and we believe that through its continuing efforts, the CTBTO will soon be at par with other international organisations in this regard. We therefore call on the Executive Secretary to continue working with the State Signatories to find ways of advancing gender equality at all levels of employment in the PTS.

Another major priority for my delegation is the advancement of youth, and we look forward to the implementation of the recommendations of the 2019 Science and Technology Conference, especially those that focused on the need to build capacity and expand the inclusion of young people in the activities of the PTS as well as in the fields of science and technology. We recognise the Executive Secretary and the PTS for their work in advancing the role of the youth in the activities of the organisation.

Chairperson,

South Africa welcomes the Programme of Work for Working Group B for the period 2020 to 2021.  Amongst the specific activities that we welcome is the scheduling, within the budget, of the equipment storage and maintenance facility ESMF project.

While we commend the work of the PTS and the progress made in the implementation of the work of the CTBTO in the four major programmes, we remain concerned with the lack of progress in bringing the Treaty into force.  The precarious state of the world at present and the growing security risks should surely motivate us all to do more to ensure that the Treaty comes into force. 

We once again strongly urge Annex II States whose signature and/or ratification is necessary for the CTBT to enter into force to sign and/or ratify the Treaty. In this regard, South Africa welcomes the outcome of the Article XIV Conference held in September last year on the margins of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Chairperson,

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, widely known as the Ban Treaty, represents an important milestone as evidenced by the overwhelming number of states that support it. It represents the aspirations of billions of people across the world.

In conclusion, be assured, Chairperson, that South Africa is committed to the work of the CTBTO and stands ready to contribute constructively to the deliberations in this Working Group and all of its mandated processes.

I thank you.

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