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Topnews, Statements

14. December 2020

STATEMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA DELIVERED BY DR. JOHNNY THABO PITSWANE, DEPUTY HEAD OF MISSION, AT THE FIFTY – FIFTH SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMISSION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY ORGANIZATION (CTBTO), 14 DECEMBER 2020, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Madam Chair,

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

Madam Chair,

South Africa would like to thank you Madam Chair, for your able leadership and seeking creative ways to ensure the continued functioning of Preparatory Commission in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID – 19 pandemic. The format in which we convene today and the ever increasing number of infections in most parts of the world are a strong reminder that a united international response to the pandemic is our only collective hope in overcoming the scourge of COVID -19.

We also extend our appreciation to the Chairs of Working Group A, Working Group B and the Advisory Group for their leadership and reports. We assure you all of our full cooperation and support. As this is the last PrepCom for Dr Schulze as Chair of Working Group B, my delegation expresses it appreciation for the leadership that he provided to Working Group B and we wish him well in his future endeavours.

We thank the Executive Secretary, Dr Zerbo, for his opening remarks and the Provisional Secretariat for ensuring that the CTBTO continues to discharge its mandate.

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

My  delegation  has taken note of the Reports of Executive Secretary on verification and non – verification related activities as contained in documents CTBT/ES/2020/2 and CTBT/ES/2020/3 respectively. In this regard we note the commendable work of the PTS in ensuring that all pillars of the verification regime are fully functional. The implementation of measures to improve the resilience of IMS Stations through  enhanced technical guidance to station operators, more reliance on local procurement and the increased use of local and regional support services is commendable.

South Africa reiterates 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 be expanded as they are key to  achieving  and  maintaining  the  organisation’s  and  State  Signatories  preparedness. In this regard, South Africa join others in appreciating efforts made to reschedule, adapt and conduct capacity building activities through virtual platforms. We also reiterate our principled position that cost saving measures should not negatively affect capacity building projects.

Gender equality and youth empowerment are major priorities for my delegation. We are therefore encouraged by the heightened attention to gender equality in all activities of the PTS and hope that the PTS will continue to enhance gender equality as well as facilitate more youth participation in all its activities. In this regard we look forward to the 2021 Science and Technology Conference, building on 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.

Turning to the Report of Working Group A, South Africa takes notes of the Report of the 58th Session as contained in document CTBT/PC-55/WGA/1. My delegation echoes the commendation of the 2018 – 2019 Programme and Budget Performance Report in particular, its contribution to transparency. We also note the 2021 Budget Update Proposal and commend the attendant cost containment measures. Note is also taken of the recommendation of the Advisory Group as contained in report CTBT/AG-55/1.

One of the critical agenda items for this Session are elections and appointment of the Executive Secretary, Chair of Working Group B and member of the Advisory Group. My delegation expresses its hope that the Preparatory Commission will reach consensus on these appointments. We urge all State Signatories, taking due cognisance of the decisions 45th Session of the Preparatory Commission regarding leadership positions of Policy Making Organs, to seek consensus on those appointments where consensus remains possible.

In conclusion, as we will be commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the Comprehensive Test – Ban Treaty for signature, we must reiterate our collective call for the remaining Annex II State to sign and ratify the CTBT paving way for its entry into force. The entry into force of the Treaty on Prohibition Nuclear Weapons Treaty on 22 January 2021 should serve as an impetus and encouragement towards the entry into force of the CTBT.

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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