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Topnews, Statements

21. Juni 2021



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 my national capacity.

South Africa would like to thank you, Ambassador Ivor Sramék, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic, for convening the 56th Session of the Preparatory Commission and 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 thank the Provisional Technical Secretariat for preparing the necessary documentation for this meeting.

Since this is Dr Zerbo’s last Session of the Preparatory Commission, let me take this opportunity to express my delegation’s deep appreciation for his exemplary leadership, his hard work towards the entry into force of the Treaty, and the many legacy programmes he initiated during his tenure as Executive Secretary. All these actions have contributed significantly and positively towards the non-proliferation regime. We wish you success in all your future endeavours.

South Africa also congratulates Dr Robert Floyd for his appointment as the next Executive Secretary and looks forward to working with him and all State Signatories, towards the entry into force of the Treaty, as well as building congeniality within the CTBTO.

We also extend our appreciation to the Chairs of Working Group A, Working Group B and the Advisory Group for their leadership and reports.


South Africa welcomes the signing and ratification of the CTBT by Cuba and the Union of Comoros respectively, which moves the Treaty one step closer to universalisation and entry into force. We call on the remaining Annex II States to use the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Treaty for signature as an opportune occasion to sign and ratify the Treaty.

My delegation, remains concerned about reports that some States are planning and preparing for nuclear weapons tests, whilst others intend to increase their nuclear arsenals. It is our view that while States that are committed to non-proliferation have made strides with the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons earlier this year, these modernisation actions and plans continue to place the world at risk and must be strongly condemned.


South Africa notes the progress that the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) has made in the implementation of verification and non-verification related activities as presented in respective reports.

South Africa attaches great importance to the International Monitoring System, the International Data Centre and On-Site Inspections 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 of the PTS in maintaining the functionality of these verification instruments despite limitations caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. We reiterate the importance of ensuring that all PTS activities on verification instruments are in full conformity with the decisions of the United Nations General Assembly, in particular Resolution 71/292 (2017). In this regard we reiterate our call that all maintenance and repairs to the Hydroacoustic Station, HA08 located in Chagos Archipelago must be undertaken in collaboration with the rightful owners of these islands, the Government and the people of Mauritius.

Capacity building is similarly a key enabler for State Signatories to utilise the verifications instruments, we therefore welcome the continuous provision of capacity building activities, particularly through a virtual platform during these unprecedented times. Furthermore, we appreciate that although the 2020 budget has been under-utilised, the number of participants in training activities has reached a record high. We look forward to the report of the quality assessment of training provided as requested by the Advisory Group as well as measures that the PTS can undertake to support the participation of developing countries in virtual training courses. 

Turning to financial matters, South Africa is pleased with the conclusion of the State Audit Office of the Kingdom of Thailand that the 2020 Financial Statements are a true reflection of the financial position of the CTBTO. We thank the external auditors for their determination in completing the audit despite travel restrictions occasioned by COVID-19. We note that the 2020 financial year ended with a net surplus and commend the Secretariat for continuously realising savings through efficiencies and reprioritisation. Furthermore, we are pleased that the PTS has taken due recognition of the prevailing economic challenges in its preparation of the 2022-2023 Programme and Budget Proposal, as well as its proposal of less than zero real growth as reflected in the budget proposals. South Africa looks forward to further consideration of these proposals.


Women empowerment, youth and regional representation are matters of great importance for my delegation. In this regard, the 2020 Human Resources Management Report reflects that the CTBTO is still lagging behind other international organisations in these fields, with women accounting for only 32% representation in the professional category. We have also noted with concern, that the internship programme, which is one of the key initiatives that provides opportunities for young people from developing countries to gain experience in the CTBTO, had a low intake in the reporting year. South Africa calls on the PTS to exert additional effort towards improving gender, youth and regional representation in all its activities. We look forward to, amongst others, a higher intake of interns, as well as focused recruitment processes that will improve gender representation.

In conclusion, while we note the positive developments in the provision of COVID-19 vaccines in parts of the world that will ultimately benefit the continued functioning of the CTBTO, South Africa remains concerned about the huge divide in the provision of vaccines to developing countries, in which the most vulnerable are burdened with the disproportionate effects of the pandemic. South Africa therefore urges all countries to support our call for a limited waiver on intellectual property rights as a mechanism to promote rapid, equitable access to vaccines. It is our hope that we can count on the commitment of all State Signatories present to support this call and address this moral imperative.

With these few words, I thank you Chairperson



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