Twenty-First Session of the
Preparatory Commission concludes


The Twenty-First Session of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization concluded a day early on Thursday 13 November 2003 with the adoption of the 2004 Programme and Budget. The Session was chaired by Ambassador Thomas Stelzer of Austria, and 84 States Signatories participated. States Signatories agreed that the tenure of the Chairperson of the Commission be extended from six months to one year, and elected Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan as Chairperson for the year 2004. Vice-Chairpersons for the same period are Egypt, Belarus, Venezuela, Turkey and Australia. The figure for the 2004 Programme and Budget was agreed by consensus at US$94 548 700. The Commission also decided that a split currency system will be introduced in 2005 as a measure to deal with the adverse effects of currency fluctuations. Budgetary appropriations and assessments shall be split between US dollars and euros in accordance with the expected requirements in each of these currencies, and States Signatories shall be assessed in the two currencies in proportion to their respective shares of the total appropriations in each of them. The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr Wolfgang Hoffmann, used the occasion of the Twenty-First Session to announce that he would not seek extension of his contract beyond 31 July 2005. He said that this would give enough time to prepare new modalities of tenure and to decide on his successor. The Commission acknowledged Mr Hoffmann's wish and expressed its appreciation for his work. The Commission also underscored the importance of a smooth transition. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans any nuclear weapon test explosion in any environment. Drafted at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, and adopted by the General Assembly on 10 September 1996, the Treaty was opened for signature on 24 September 1996 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. To date, it has been signed by 170 States and ratified by 108. It will enter into force when it has been ratified by all 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty. Thirty-two of these States have so far deposited their instruments of ratification.

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