28th Session of CTBTO WG B: Statement by 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 Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, the EFTA countries Iceland , Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Moldova and Ukraine, associate themselves with this statement.
following our introductory remarks at the opening session of this WGB, allow me to go into more detail on issues of restructuring and the Medium Term Plan:
- The EU commends the PTS for its good progress in restructuring. The new structure has taken shape and should be consolidated further as soon as possible. In particular the EU would appreciate rapid progress on the setting up of an engineering section to support the IMS build up. The EU feels the need to re-orientate the priorities in order to ensure a more equitable balance between maintenance and installation, as performed by the current installation and certification task force.
- In the context of restructuring we also see the need to draw up as soon as possible a comprehensive human resource plan showing how to cope with the high turnover in personnel the PTS is faced over the coming two years. We thank the PTS for having exposed so clearly the challenge that the personnel turnover will pose in particular to the IDC this year. We are confident that the Executive Secretary will be able to manage this personnel turnover in a such way that core functions and competencies of the secretariat can be preserved and would like to assure the Executive Secretary of the EU’s full support in this matter.
- The EU would like to reiterate its appreciation for the efforts made in drawing up the Medium Term Plan 2008-2012 document, which is much more substantial than in previous years. This Medium Term Plan should serve to trigger a debate about medium term strategic planning for the CTBTO that has become more and more urgent, also in view of possible budget shortfalls as of 2008.
The European Union once more takes note with great concern of the increasingly unsatisfactory level of commitment by States Signatories to fulfil their financial obligations. The EU therefore continues to urge all States Signatories to meet their financial obligations in full, on time and without conditions.
The EU calls on the PTS to fully disclose possible budget shortfalls in 2008 in the form of scenarios to the upcoming advisory group, WG A and WG B, and June PrepCom.
- The Medium Term Plan contains two options for the funding of the IMS build-up: in option A the completion of the IMS network is foreseen for 2012, while option B would achieve this goal one year earlier. Both of these options entail substantial cost increases, for which it may be difficult to find a consensus among State Signatories.
- The new Medium Term Plan revises the total cost for building and completing the IMS network up from 285 to 328 million USD. If there is no consensus to increase the budget to cover the extra costs which the PTS says are required, we need to adapt our current priorities to the new financial constraints.
- Before doing this, however, we need more clarity what these new financial constraints will actually consist of. While the Medium Term Plan accounts quite in detail for cost increases, it does not show options for savings, nor does it expose in a sufficiently clear manner cost development trends of the past, both for IMS build up and for Post Certification Activity (PCA) costs.
- As to IMS build up the EU therefore would like to see an analysis of the installation costs for each individual station in the past, as well as cost estimates for future installations to compare projections of future costs with real expenditures of previous years. This overview should clearly indicate the amount of money dedicated to a station, the amount actually spent, projections for future construction on a station by station basis and the financial means left in the Capital Investment Fund (CIF). This would enable an informed discussion of various scenarios and their budgetary impacts.
- The same should be done for costs of post certification activities (PCA). We are concerned about the fact that costs for unexpected problems are not yet accounted for in current projections. As for capital investment costs, the EU would like to see how costs for PCA and for unscheduled maintenance have affected the budget in the past. Furthermore, we would like to encourage the PTS to develop a sustainment strategy that avoids cost explosion by providing realistic cost estimates for the operation and maintenance of IMS stations in various parts of the world. This should also include a rationale for recapitalisation on a station by station basis.
- The EU also proposes to apply for each verification technology a benchmarking procedure to the PCA costs on a regional basis. Such a procedure could also be useful for the comparison of the installation costs. Those stations exceeding the regional benchmarks should be set out in a PTS information paper reported to WG B. By doing so we would introduce an instrument of cost control through transparency that in view of the recent high growth of PCA cost we feel would be urgently needed. We would also welcome if the PTS came up with proposals for more stringent measures of cost control of PCA costs.
- The European Union requests the PTS to draft a report on these issues to be discussed in the upcoming sessions of the Advisory Group, WG A, WG B and the June PrepCom. Such a report, together with the Medium Term Plan, should then allow us to take informed decisions for orientations on both the budget 2008 and the medium term perspective for the CTBTO.
- We would also like to reiterate our proposal made at the opening session of this WG B: We would see substantial merit in doing a follow up review to the 2005 Starr-Rimdap report implementation, to be decided and prepared in 2007 and to be performed during the first half of 2008. We believe such a review could give additional impetus for a further strengthening of the medium term strategy activities of the CTBTO.
- With regard to GCI, even though the MTP does not comprise any technical details on the procurement process, the EU is satisfied with the result at this stage. Whether the high expectations can be fulfilled will be known after the transition period, once the new GCI provider will have taken full responsibility of its operations.
- Without loosing sight of cost cutting and cost control, the EU would like to see the following priorities being applied to the CTBTO in the medium term perspective:
- Our first priority would be to sustain the IMS as a whole, in particular the stations network should be allocated appropriate funding and human resources. As far as recapitalisation is concerned, this should be decided on a station by station basis based on cost efficiency considerations. The PTS should develop the necessary planning tools for this, as stated above.
- Our second priority would be the completion of the IMS, but over longer period of time according to the availability of financial means. Priority should be given to noble gas technology, as here only 25% readiness compared to 80-90 % in the other technologies has been achieved and because of crucial role of noble gases in detecting underground nuclear tests. Priority should also be given to the build up of stations needed to ensure an equitable global coverage. We could also agree to giving a priority to certain auxiliary stations particularly relevant for tsunami warning.
- Our third priority is OSI: OSI must be at the same level of operative readiness as the IDC and the IMS upon Entry into Force. We state that at this stage OSI lags behind the other two components and see a need in particular for more appropriate staffing of the OSI division in the short term. We welcome in principle the PTS proposals on holding a mock exercise in 2012. Decisions on increased OSI funding should be considered in the process of preparations for the budget 2009 in view of Entry into Force perspectives as well as the overall budget situation, taking into account the funding which will be made available when the costs of IMS sustainment will be fully controlled.
- To conclude let me come back to what I said at the outset of WG B last week: The EU sees a needs to mobilise all States Signatories for an overall strategic vision stating strategic imperatives, priorities and challenges for the CTBTO. We hope that the session this morning can be a constructive starting point for such a process.
* Croatia and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilization and Association Process.