Contemporary challenges are global [fr]
Security Council - Addressing complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security - Speech by Mr. François Delattre - 20 December 2017
"Terrorism knows no borders, while epidemics or climate change sometimes have very real effects on the stability of countries and can threaten the security of an entire region. The United Nations must be able to respond to them"., François Delattre, 20 December 2017
I should like first to thank the Japanese presidency of the Security Council for having taken the initiative to convene this debate, which is especially welcome in the current context, and the Secretary-General for his enlightening briefing.The debates and discussions that we have held throughout this year have shown that the current challenges to peace and international security are both complex and multifaceted and that they call for a response that is comprehensive its approach and diversified in its application, and that is able to adapt to the specificities of each crisis.
As the world has globalized so, too, have the threats it faces. Terrorism knows no borders, while epidemics or climate change sometimes have very real effects on the stability of countries and can threaten the security of an entire region. The United Nations must be able to respond to them, using all of its tools and acting in an integrated manner on the root causes of these threats.That is the entire purpose of the Secretary-General’s reform, which seekss to endow the United Nations with the capacity to work in an integrated manner to prevent conflicts and address their root causes. The Member States must also respond, acting collectively, just as the Council is mandated to do. Without seeking to be exhaustive, I would like to refer to two of these complex challenges and one major issue:
The first challenge is terrorism. Terrorism today is one of the main threats to international peace and security. Be it groups such as Al-Qaida, Da’esh and Boko Haram, or individuals inspired by their barbaric ideology, the terrorist threat has never been so high. The phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters and the massive use of the Internet and social media for recruiting, financing or calling for action has also added a new dimension to the threat.
While nothing justifies terrorism, we know that it feeds on poverty, insecurity, displacement and economic and social imbalances. It also feeds on transnational organized crime and its many forms of trafficking. Faced with a threat of this magnitude, it is essential that States adopt a holistic approach and consider all economic, political, cultural and social comprehensive. Against those who oppose barbarism to our way of life, our freedom and our democracy, we must wage together an implacable frontier fight on multiple fronts, with respect of our values and with the weapons of the law. Terrorism is now one of those major global challenges that States can no longer meet alone.France is convinced, as President Macron reminded the General Assembly in September (see A/72/PV.4), that multilateralism is the right answer, with respect not only to legitimacy but also to its effectiveness in meeting these challenges.
The situation in the Sahel illustrates the dangers of terrorism and the need for a comprehensive response. The security threat to the States of the Sahel concerns us all and calls for a collective response. On the security front, the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel) is an example of a joint and concerted response to this threat, which calls for strong and coordinated support from the United Nations and all of us. That is the meaning of resolution 2391 (2017), which the Security Council adopted recently. This response must go hand in hand with strong support for development, which can bring lasting solutions to the region’s problems. This is the meaning of the support efforts made within the framework of the Alliance for the Sahel, in particular to improve the employability and education of young people, agriculture, energy, governance and security.
The second challenge is climate change. The root causes of a crisis are often multiple, and global warming is an aggravating factor in fragile contexts. This has been the warmest year on record. Extreme climatic events are characterized by their intensity and frequency. No country is spared today. We can no longer ignore its profoundly destabilizing consequences. The most vulnerable populations, already exposed to other factors of conflict, whether political, social or environmental, are the first victims. For small island developing States and coastal countries, their very survival is at stake. Their submersion, linked to ocean rise, would also lead to massive migratory waves that are particularly destabilizing for the security of these regions. The same is true in areas where desertification forces people to abandon their fields.
We now have the technological and financial means to build a clean and secure future and protect future generations. Climate change is not — or not yet — inevitable. France is convinced that the answer must be found first and foremost through the effective and swift implementation of the Paris Agreement. Our immediate priority is to fully implement it because climate action is the best way to prevent global-warming crises. This is the purpose of the international conference on financing climate action that President Macron organized a few days ago in Paris with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the World Bank.
The major challenge to international peace and security that I wish to highlight is that of respect for human rights. Many contemporary conflicts originate in massive violations of human rights. I will cite but two examples. In Syria, after years of repression by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad against its own people, it was the bloody crushing of peaceful demonstrations by the civilian population calling for respect for their most basic rights that brought about the situation we know today. In Burma, it was the serious violations of human rights, in Rakhine state in particular — violations of civil and political rights including the right to citizenship, disproportionate use of force, and sexual violence — that led to thousands of Rohingyas fleeing their region to the detriment of regional stability, as described by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Pramila Patten last week in this very Chamber (S/ PV.8133).
When human rights are violated, it is regional security that is threatened. That is why, in order to respond swiftly to serious human rights violations, it is essential that the Security Council be informed by the relevant mechanisms, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose early-warning role is essential. That is also why it is important to equip peacekeeping operations with robust human rights and civilian-protection mandates and to ensure the full implementation of those mandates.
Finally, the impunity of those responsible for unconscionable violations is also a threat to the sustainable restoration of peace. It undermines the civil society’s trust and with it prospects for political solutions. This reveals the extent to which the fight against impunity through the relevant legal mechanisms, in particular the International Criminal Court, when it has jurisdiction, is both crucial in itself and essential to peace and reconciliation.
In conclusion, these complex challenges, combined with the long-standing but still-present threats, such as inter-State conflict or nuclear proliferation, affect us all immediately and collectively. All of us — each of us — must, therefore, collectively, respond to it. The United Nations must also be able to do so. We welcome the Secretary-General’s willingness to ensure that the Organization can meet this challenge by reforming it and making it more agile, coherent and effective. France fully supports these efforts.
What the debate today shows is that all of our contemporary challenges are global and therefore call for a comprehensive response that links peace and security, development and human rights, and which is anchored in dialogue and multilateralism. It is by taking decisive action on these three fronts, while respecting the universal founding values of the United Nations,which protect individuals everywhere and guarantee their dignity, that we will succeed in responding collectively and sustainably to these challenges.