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Topnews, Statements

21. November 2022

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE FIFTY NINETH SESSION OF THE CTBTO PREPARATORY COMMISION, MONDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2022, 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 thanks you Ambassador Darío Ernesto Chirú Ochoa, for convening the 59th Session of Preparatory Commission and we assure you of our full cooperation and support. We would also like to thank the Executive Secretary, the Chairs of Working Group A, Working Group B, Advisory Group and the PTS for their reports and preparation for this session.

Chairperson,

South Africa as the Co-President of the Article XIV Conference with Italy, warmly welcomes the  recent ratifications of the Treaty by Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe as well as Timor Leste, bringing the number of State Signatories to 186 and ratifications to 176. We commend the Executive Secretary and the PTS for exceeding the stated target of five signatories in the 25th anniversary year and reaffirm our commitment to continue encouraging States that are yet to do so, to sign and ratify the Treaty . A message expressed in the meeting between Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Mr Alvin Botes and the Executive Secretary on 21 June 2022.

We reiterate our call to the remaining Annex II States to sign and ratify the CTBT without further delay. We continue to draw inspiration from the entry into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) that the CTBT will soon follow suite and we further reaffirm the complementarity between the CTBT and the TPNW. The only assured safety and security of the world and its people is the permanent destruction and elimination of nuclear weapons.

Chairperson

South Africa notes the progress that the PTS has made in implementing verification and non-verification related activities encapsulated in the reports of the Executive Secretary as contained in documents CTBT/ES/2022/2 and CTBT/ES/2022/3. My delegation is pleased with the overall achievement of performance targets and the adaptability of the PTS in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My delegation 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. South Africa appreciates the good work undertaken by the PTS in maintaining the functionality of the IMS facilities throughout the world and the IDC resulting in improvement in data availability and the achievement of timeliness of IDC products. In this regard, we thank the PTS for the completion of the major upgrade of the Infrasound Station, IS47 located in Boshof, South Africa, and the revalidation of the Station that took place in March this year.

South Africa reiterates its firm view that all maintenance and repairs to the verification regime must be in full conformity to the decisions of the United Nations and its General Assembly at all times. We take note of the declaration of readiness by the United Kingdom to start negotiations with Mauritius over the decolonisation of the Chagos Archipelago as well as the planned engagement between the Executive Secretary and the government of Mauritius regarding amongst others HA08. We hope that these steps will attain the desired outcomes and request the Executive Secretary to keep the PrepCom informed on these developments.

Chairperson,

Technical capacity and knowledge are key enablers for State Signatories to utilise the verifications instruments once the Treaty comes into force. We thus note with appreciation the launch by the Executive Secretary of the initiative “National Data Centres For All”. We look forward to the positive results of this initiative and the benefits that recipient State Signatories will obtain from utilizing data from their NDCs.

While we are acutely aware that the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains with us, we are concerned about the low implementation rate of the Capacity Building Fund, which stood at only 2.7% as at 31 August 2022 and falls far short of the required levels. We urge the Secretariat to implement all necessary measures to improve the delivery of capacity building measures, including through increasing the number of participants in capacity building programmes scheduled for the remainder of 2022 and the 2023 financial years.

Chairperson

The advancement and empowerment of women and the youth in science, including in the nuclear sciences is a key priority for South Africa. While we appreciate efforts currently underway towards gender parity, we continue to encourage the Secretariat to engage in further focused recruitment processes aimed at improving gender representation, especially from African and other developing States. We also encourage the utilisation of youth engagement platforms as the basis for identification of potential candidates for the CTBTO. In this regard we express our appreciation for the outreach programmes to young nuclear engineers and scientists undertaken in collaboration with our Council for Non – Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction that took place on 18 November 2022.

Turning to financial matters, my delegation notes with appreciation the PTS efforts in absorbing inflationary pressures on the 2023 Budget Updates Proposals in these challenging economic times. In this regard, we appreciate the decline in the real and nominal values of the overall 2023 Budget proposal. We also applaud the allocation of more than 80% of resources to verification related expenses. While noting the projected high levels of inflation in future and the resultant depressive economic conditions, which have disproportionate effects on developing countries, we encourage the Secretariat to explore measures that will lessen the burden of future price hikes on State Signatories.

Finally, my delegation looks forward to the Science Diplomacy Symposium 2022 to which we have nominated women scientists as participants.

I thank you Mr Chair.

The Sterkfontein Caves
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