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Statements in International Organisations


Thirtieth Session of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO

Opening statement by the Republic of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Croatia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia  and Turkey, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Moldova, associate themselves with this statement.

At the outset, we would like to warmly welcome you, Ambassador, in this important function as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission. The EU wishes to thank the Executive Secretary for his written and oral reports to the Commission, the Chairman of the WGA and the Chairman of the WGB for their reports. We would also like to extend our appreciation to the Secretariat for their work.


Mr Chairman,

Since the Twenty-Ninth Session of the Preparatory Commission, the European Union is pleased to note that four more States, the Bahamas, Barbados, Malaysia and the Annex 2 state, Colombia, have ratified the Treaty, bringing the total number of ratifications to 144, which represent three quarters of all United Nations Member States. This significant and continuously rising number shows the strong and wide support of the international community for the Treaty and for the norm against nuclear testing. The EU reiterates its call on all remaining States, which have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the CTBT, in particular those nine States whose ratifications are required for Entry into Force.

The EU would like to draw attention to the ministerial meeting in support of the CTBT to be held on 24 September 2008 in the UN Headquarters, New York, in the margins of UNGA, which we hope will provide further impetus towards Entry into Force of the Treaty.

The number of States that fully paid their assessed contributions increased from 78 at the end of 2006 to 99 States at the end of 2007. We welcome the fact that this positive trend has continued in 2008. The EU sees this as an expression of strong commitment to the Treaty and appreciates the efforts by the Executive Secretary to this end.

While we appreciate the improved collection rate, the EU remains highly concerned over the growing amount of outstanding assessed contributions. The total amount collected has deteriorated since 2006 - on a cumulative basis the arrears have reached an alarming 51.3 million USD at the end of 2007. The Commission depends on the timely payment of assessed contributions to carry out its work in an effective manner. We therefore strongly urge all States Signatories that have not yet done so, to settle their arrears and meet their financial obligations in full, on time and without conditions.


Mr Chairman,

Installation and certification of the IMS, its maintenance, testing and effective provisional operation, as well as upgrading the OSI regime are the priority tasks of the PTS which need to be steadily carried out to ensure that the verification regime will operate reliably and in a cost-effective manner when the Treaty enters into force.

The EU welcomes the report of the Executive Secretary (CTBT/PC-30/INF.3) showing a good pace of installations and certifications of the IMS facilities. The total number of certified facilities at the end of April 2008 reached 229 or 68% of the 337 facilities that are foreseen by the Treaty.

In this connection the EU welcomes the CTBT-International Scientific Studies project (ISS), initiated earlier this year, and whose objective is to carry out scientific studies and assessments to address and evaluate the readiness and capability of the CTBT verification regime in a coordinated international scientific effort. The studies will highlight progress made in all monitoring technologies. The ISS is timely as more than two-thirds of the IMS-stations are in place. The EU looks forward to the presentation of the results of the studies and the research activities at a Scientific Symposium in Vienna in June 2009.

The core of our work in the Preparatory Commission lies in Article IV paragraph one of the Treaty: “At Entry into Force of this Treaty, the verification regime shall be capable of meeting the verification requirements of this Treaty”. Pursuant to this paragraph, the Preparatory Commission has the specific task of undertaking “all necessary preparations to ensure operationalisation of the Treaty’s verification regime at Entry into Force”.

For our part, we hope that our deadline, the Treaty’s Entry into Force, will soon be upon us. But realistically we cannot know when exactly this will be. We do not agree with the argument that, because of this, we should artificially constrain or freeze our work until prospects are better, and then somehow step up the pace again later.

While we wait for those 9 remaining Annex 2 countries still to ratify the Treaty to do so, all we can do is to pursue our task of steadily building up the Treaty’s verification regime. We have made considerable progress towards this goal and have just under a third of the IMS network to certify. However, this one third is the most difficult, and will therefore take the longest, as projections in the Medium Term Plan demonstrate. So, just as there is no need to step on the accelerator at this stage, we should certainly not step on the brakes.

The EU acknowledges that there is a link between this work and the prospects for Entry into Force of the Treaty. For our part, we want those 9 Annex 2 countries still to ratify the Treaty, to see a viable, thriving, purposeful organisation, pressing ahead with its key task of creating a verification regime ready to meet the requirements of the Treaty. We do not want them to see an organisation marking time, shy about what it is for, or even going backwards.

This does not mean we should not be careful about how we spend our valuable resources - EU members and the countries that associate with this statement have contributed in 2007 more than half of the total amount paid until 31 December 2007 to the organisation’s regular budget. We should therefore be prepared to look at what we still have left to do to complete the verification regime, and focus our resources on what we agree are our priorities. So it is important that we devote sufficient resources, for example for development of noble gas technology, and continue the installations of additional noble gas systems, agreed by Working Group B as a priority.

The EU also reiterates its attachment to the upgrade of the OSI regime and recalls that the successful conduct of IFE08, which is the first experience of an OSI in almost real conditions, is one of its priorities. In this view we therefore note with satisfaction the efforts made by Kazakhstan and the PTS to perform on time all the tasks necessary to conduct IFE08 as well as possible. The EU also reaffirms the importance of a comprehensive evaluation of each aspect of the IFE08 in order to identify all the relevant lessons learned.


Mr Chairman,

The EU sees the initial draft 2009 Programme and Budget Proposals as a good basis for further discussion. The European Union stresses the importance of a programme-driven budget. We believe that it is essential that the final draft Budget and Programme 2009 provides the necessary resources for steady and continued build up of the verification regime as well as sustaining the valuable investments we have already made.

The EU reiterates its view that Post Certification Activities (PCA) costs remain a serious challenge to keep future budgets sustainable. Even though inflationary pressures appear not to be an imminent threat regarding PCA costs, the PTS should work to contain these pressures. We are looking forward to receiving the PTS’s consolidated paper and set of proposals for containment of PCA costs based on their detailed analysis in the fall sessions of the PMOs.

Relating to the Advisory Group (AG) recommendations we would like to recall the PTS proposal to modify the financial rules to introduce a mechanism to mitigate the impact of possible future funding shortfalls, revised and endorsed by the AG. We believe there is a need to take a decision on this issue in the November Preparatory Commission in the light of information on the implementation of this year’s deferred programme and the PTS’s assessment of what may be required in terms of a possible deferred programme for 2009 and recommendations from the September AG Session.

Regarding the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), the EU reiterates its view that the PTS should follow an incremental approach and take into account lessons learned from other international organisations, which have gone through the same procedure to ensure a smooth transition. We propose that Advisory Group reconsiders this issue in order to enable the PrepCom at its November Session to authorise the PTS to initiate the necessary planning and analysis required to make the transition to IPSAS.


Mr Chairman,

The EU attaches great importance to the provision of IMS data to tsunami early warning centres. As the PTS has now received confirmation by UNESCO of authorised tsunami warning centres, which already receive IMS data on provisional basis,   the EU would like to see the formal agreements concluded as soon as possible in order to implement the decision the Preparatory Commission took in 2006.

I would like to conclude by assuring you, Mr Chairman, of the full support and cooperation of the European Union and Associated Countries during this session.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

[1] Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process


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Date: 24.06.2008