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28. Oktober 2015

AFRICAN GROUP STATEMENT DELIVERED BY MS. LYDIA GREYLING, MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, DURING THE FORTY-EIGHT (48TH) SESSION OF THE CTBTO WORKING GROUP A, 28 OCTOBER 2015

Mr. Chairman,

The African Group is pleased to see you, Ambassador Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, presiding over the 48th Session of Working Group A, and assures you of its co-operation and support in this regard.

The Group aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China by the distinguish Ambassador Armin ANDEREYA, Permanent Representative of Chile.

The Group thanks the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina ZERBO, for his opening statement, and would like to express its appreciation to the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) for preparing on time documents for this Session, including the informative briefing held on Monday, 18 May 2015.

The Group also wishes to thank the Advisory Group and its Chairman Mr. Michael Weston, for introducing the report of the Advisory Group and his efforts in supporting the programme of the Commission.

Mr. Chairman,

1.       The African Group takes note of the draft 2016-2017 Program and Budget Proposal and its Annex 1.  The Group would like to thank the PTS for its effort and to make the following remarks concerning the four proposed Multiyear Funds:

a)   Despite being the first occasion to apply the Multiyear Funding mechanism in the CTBTO, the Group is assured that the PTS could manage several of these funds in a satisfactory manner.

b)   The Group believes that it is of utmost importance to replace the proposed “Capacity Building Fund” for OSI exercises and Inspectorate Development, with another fund that comprises capacity building activities for State Signatories in the four principle technologies of the verification regime. The Group confirms that building capacity in these technologies is of higher priority and should be planned over several budget cycles to guarantee a result based evaluation of the progress achieved. We are certain, with the highly appreciated efforts of the PTS, this new Multiyear Fund could be formulated and proposed for the 2016-2017 Program and Budget Proposal.

c)   The Group believes the necessity to provide the PTS with guidelines concerning the process of establishing Multiyear Funds; These guidelines should, inter alia, specify the maximum amount of financial resources that could be allocated to these funds in future budget cycles, a specified duration for these funds, with the ability to renew it, upon a recommendation by both subsidiary bodies to the Commission.

2.       The Group takes note of the Report of the Executive Secretary on Non-Verification-related Activities for the period April-August 2015 (CTBT/ES/2015/3), and would like to request information concerning the foreseen expenses, and the modality of integrating it in the Draft Program and Budget Proposal, related to the removal of equipment from the current "Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility" (ESMF) location in Guntramsdorf before the 1st of March 2016, as well as the expenses related to the temporary option. This information is essential for Signatory States to make an informed and well-founded decision regarding the 2016-2017 Draft Program and Budget Proposal, including the Multiyear Fund allocated for the ESMF.

Mr. Chairman

3.       The African Group welcomes the continued efforts of the PTS to strengthen capacity-building and facilitate training activities in particular for scientists from developing countries. In this regard, the Group reiterates its view that Pilot Project continues to contribute to capacity-building of experts from developing countries. The Group therefore encourages the PTS to further pursue these efforts with a view to ensure wider participation of scientist particularly from the African Continent. We note with appreciation the continued support from donor countries, and call upon States to continue to provide extra-budgetary resources in this regard.

4.       The Group would like to thank State Signatories that provided voluntary contributions to the Pilot project which would go a long way for capacity building in developing countries and facilitate the contributions of these experts to the work of the Subsidiary bodies of the Commission.

Mr. Chairman,

5.       The Group takes note of the 2014 Human Resource Management Report and the PTS´s concerns regarding the difficulties affecting the recruitment process and looks forward for envisaged steps to improve the recruitment process in the coming Human Resource Management Report.

6.       The Group commends the PTS for the financial statements for 2014, the first to be International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) compliant which was prepared using the new Enterprise Resource Planning (EPR) system. The statement received an unqualified opinion. 

Mr. Chairman

 7.      Upon entry into force of the African nuclear weapon free zone treaty, the Pelindaba Treaty, the African states emphasised again their resolution in making the African continent a region free of Nuclear weapons in a legally binding format and commit to prohibit the testing of any nuclear explosive device on their territories, as well as not to assist or encourage any nuclear explosive device by any state anywhere."

8.       The African Group commends the interaction between the African Union Commission and the CTBTO Preparatory Commission in identifying areas of cooperation to achieve our shared ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and as part of the efforts to universalize the Treaty"

9.       The African Group takes note of the proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO and the African Union Commission which will further strengthen cooperation and consultation in areas of mutual understanding, and would like to ask for further information on this Memorandum of understanding to contribute to the drafting of its final version."

Mr. Chairman

10.     In Conclusion, the Group notes that no consensus has yet been achieved despite the intensive efforts of the Chair of Preparatory Commission, Ambassador Ayoko. The Group reiterates the importance of appointing Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons for the subsidiary bodies of the Commission and believes that these procedures will improve the efficiency of the Working Groups. The finalization of these procedures will play a significant role in the smooth running of the Session and future meetings.

11.    The Group would like to recall the decision of the 43rd Session of the Preparatory Commission, which decided to appoint Vice-Chairpersons at its 45th Session. We therefore encourage regional Groups to nominate candidates for the Vice-Chairpersonship. The Group recalls that the 43rd Session of the Preparatory Commission also decided on developing procedures for the appointment of Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons of the subsidiary bodies of the Commission. The Group would like to thank Ambassador Ayoko for his continued efforts through convening transparent and all-inclusive consultations with States Signatories to reach consensus on this pressing issue.

I thank you.

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