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08. März 2021

STATEMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA DELIVERED BY MR MFUNDO MAJOZI, COUNSELLOR, AT THE  FIFTY SIXTH SESSION OF WORKING GROUP B OF THE CTBTO, 8 MARCH 2021, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

South Africa is pleased to see you Mr Sergey Berezin, chairing the 56th Session of Working Group B and we assure you our full cooperation and support.

My delegation congratulates, Mr Erlan Batyrbekov on his appointment as Chair of Working Group B (WGB) and wishes him well in his tenure. We further assure him of our full cooperation and support. Furthermore, South Africa appreciates the efforts of the Chair of the Preparatory Commission, Ambassador Ivor Sramék , Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic  as well as the delegations of Norway and Paraguay for assisting the Preparatory Commission to reach the decision on this appointment in a consensual manner. 

We also wish to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr Zerbo, for his opening statement 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 2020 as well as the preparatory arrangements for this Session.

South African 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 remarks in our national capacity.

Chairperson,

At the onset, my delegates commends Cuba and the Union of Comoros for their signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which has brought the total number of State Signatories to 185 thus bringing the Treaty a step closer to its universalisation. We reiterate our call especially to the remaining Annex II countries to sign and ratify the Treaty.

My delegation welcomes the report of the Executive Secretary on verification related matters for the period July to December 2020 and is pleased to note that the PTS has made all necessary means to ensure that data availability of certified International Monitoring System (IMS) stations remained high. Similarly, IDC products were issued without interruption and continued to meet the indicative timeliness guidelines provided by Working Group B.

South Africa reiterates its belief in the importance of maintaining and expanding the preparedness of the CTBTO to implement the Treaty once it comes into force. In this regard, the completion of IMS facilities and the maintenance thereto as well as capacity building to enable State Signatories to implement the Treaty are key. The certification of the two new Stations and the revalidation of five stations are some of the important developments in the expansion and completion of the IMS. The collaboration of the PTS and host countries as well the utilisation of creative ways including local procurement to ensure the continued functioning of Stations should be some of the best practices that are carried forward beyond the COVID – 19 pandemic.

My delegation joins others in appreciating efforts made by the PTS to conduct capacity building interventions through virtual means where possible and further joins others in requesting the Secretariat to reschedule expeditiously those capacity building projects which were not feasible to hold in the reporting period.

Chairperson,

My delegation places great importance to gender equality and youth empowerment, in this regard we congratulate the newly appointed Directors of the PTS and commend the Executive Secretary for ensuring balanced gender representation at senior management levels in the PTS. It is our hope that gender balancing will continue to permeate all staff levels in the PTS. We have also noted with satisfaction that plans for the 2021 Science and Technology Conference are at an advanced stage. We look forward to this important event which is a valuable platform for the participation of the youth in the activities of the CTBTO. This will augment amongst others the good work being done by the OSI Division in involving the CTBT Youth Task Force in the virtual tabletop exercise on an OSI launch phase.

With these few remarks, I thank you Mr Chair.

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