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Topnews, Statements

28. October 2020

STATEMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA DELIVERED BY DR. JOHNNY PITSWANE, DEPUTY HEAD OF MISSION, ON THE FIFTY EIGTH SESSION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY ORGANIZATION (CTBTO) WORKING GROUP A, 28 OCTOBER 2020, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the G77 and China as well as the African Group.

I would like to make the following remarks in our national capacity.

South Africa would like to thank you Chairperson, for convening the 58th Session of Working Group A and the informal consultations prior to this session. We assure you of our full cooperation and support throughout the proceedings.

We thank the Executive Secretary, Dr Lassina Zerbo, for his opening remarks as well as his reports to this Session. We also extend our appreciation to the Provisional Technical Secretariat for preparing the necessary documentation for this meeting.

Chairperson,

South Africa notes the progress that the Provisional Secretariat has made in implementing the non – verification related activities encapsulated in Major Programmes four to seven in the period April to August 2020 as contained in the Executive Secretary’s report document CTBT/ES/2020/3. My delegation is pleased with the overall achievement of performance targets while realising costs savings.

South Africa attaches great importance to the International Monitoring System and the International Data Centre as essential instruments in meeting the verification requirements of the Treaty once it comes into force. In this regard, South Africa appreciates the good work undertaken by the PTS in maintaining the functionality of the IMS facilities throughout the world and the IDC in spite of the limitations caused by the outbreak of COVID – 19.

Similarly, the outbreak of COVID – 19 and the resultant economic pressures have affected and will continue to affect all nations of the world. This necessitates more than ever before, efficient utilization of resources. In this regard we note the decrease in the overall price adjustments on the 2021 Budget Update Proposals from 1.62% to 1.37%. We further note the proposed below zero real budget growth as well as the incorporation of $ 5.5 million in reprioritized savings. We also commend the Secretariat continued commitment to the now established practice of cost reductions on travel and general expenses without compromising delivery on the mandate of the CTBTO.

Chairperson

South Africa places great importance to women and youth empowerment. Comparative statistics  on the 2019 Human Resources Report, however, shows that gender parity in the staff complement of the CTBTO remains an area of significant development. We therefore urge the PTS to spare no efforts in working towards gender parity. It is also my delegation’s expectation that the intake of participants in the internship programme will improve in 2021.

We have noted the PTS report to the 54th Session of the Advisory Group regarding the 2020 Budget Implementation. We are pleased with the PTS plans to undertake in the coming year some of the capacity building activities that were not possible this year due to restrictive COVID – 19 measures. We also note the recommendations of the Advisory Group.

In conclusion, the commemoration in August this year of the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, should serve as a firm reminder of the desirability of the international community to rally towards the coming into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Our resolve in this regard, must be strengthened by the positive developments occasioned by the signing of the Treaty on Prohibition Nuclear Weapons Treaty by the requisite number of States, paving the way for its entry into force.

We therefore call on the remaining Annex II States to sign and ratify the CTBT without further delay.

With these few words, I thank you Chairperson.

South Africa's investment in
education has tripled since the
end of apartheid. At 6.6% of the
country's GDP and 17.7% of total
government spending, the
country's education spending
rate is among the highest
in the world.

 
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