CTBTO faces budgetary challenges
The difficult budgetary situation has dominated the Twenty-Eighth Session of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO. The Commission strongly encouraged Member States which had not yet done so to pay their contributions fully and on time. Executive Secretary Tibor Toth requested States Signatories, on an exceptional basis, to consider providing the Commission with additional resources.
A total of USD 24m* or more than a fifth of the overall annual budget for 2007 is outstanding. The complete budget for 2007 is USD 110m. The United States of America, the biggest contributor according to the UN scale of assessed contributions, has over the past years accumulated a payment deficit of USD 28m. Other countries are also lagging behind with their payments, among them Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Iran.
The lack of funds is painfully felt in the daily work of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission. ''Money is the oxygen for the verification system to breathe'', said Mr. Toth, adding that ''each and every country should see the value of what we are doing''.
One billion US dollars have been invested so far in the build-up of the CTBT verification regime, a global alarm system that monitors the entire globe for nuclear explosions. ''No single country can have a system like this'', stressed Mr. Toth and explained that all 177 Member States are entitled to use the vast amount of important data the system is generating. The 89 countries that host monitoring stations enjoy additional benefits from equipment, software and training that are invested into station building.
These investments have yielded impressive results. The number of stations certified to meet technical requirements set by the Commission is steadily increasing. ''Two months ago we crossed the 200 mark'', said Mr. Toth, adding that significant headway has been made vis-a-vis nuclear weapon States. Stations are certified in four of them, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and similar progress is expected to be made soon regarding stations in China.
Returning to the burning question of how to overcome the difficult budgetary situation, Mr. Toth said that the Commission is redoubling efforts to encourage States Signatories to meet their payment obligations.
The projected total resources shortfall of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission budget for 2007 amounts to US$ 29.1 million. The figure indicated in the press release refers to the shortfall in the General Fund only which amounts to US$ 24.5 million. In order to give a complete picture of the current financial situation, the shortfall in the Capital Investment Fund of US$ 4.6 million needs to be considered as well.