Critical infrastructures are a target for terrorists [fr]
The protection of critical infrastructure to respond to the threat of terrorism
Statement by Mrs Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 13 February 2018
At the outset, I would like to thank the Ambassador of Peru and Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee for his briefing. On behalf of France, I would like to take this opportunity to wish him every success for the next two years at the head of this important committee.
We had the opportunity in the Security Council last week (see S/PV. 8178) to discuss the fact that, despite its military defeat in Iraq and the Levant, Da’esh continues to pose a serious threat to international peace and security, as exemplified by the series of terrorist attacks that continue to dominate the news. The list of Security Council statements to the press is sad proof of that reality. Several terrorist attacks have demonstrated in the past how critical infrastructure, in particular, can be a prime target for terrorists. This is an issue that may sound technical, but in reality it is very close to the daily lives of all our fellow citizens. I would like to make two main points.
1/ First, I would like to recall that the unanimous adoption of resolution 2341 (2017) exactly a year ago was the first time that this threat had been underscored at the international level. We welcome the efforts of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate (CTED) to assist States in the implementation of this important resolution and to facilitate international cooperation in the field of critical infrastructure protection. In particular, resolution 2341 (2017) highlighted two key messages :
First, the resolution underlines the importance of prevention and preparedness with respect to potential threats, and the need to identify early on the main challenges and vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure protection, and to develop a targeted strategy to be put in place in the event of an attack.
Secondly, it stresses the importance of cooperation, whether it be inter-agency or inter-State, in order to guarantee an appropriate level of protection, which includes the exchange of information, knowledge and experience. Due to the very nature of the activities carried out by these critical infrastructures, close cooperation with the private sector is also essential.
2/ My second comment relates to France’s arrangements in this area. The protection of the population, together with guaranteeing the continuity of the nation’s essential functions, remains a strategic priority for France. That is why, at the national level, France is constantly adapting its system to protect critical infrastructures as required by resolution 2341 (2017). Our safety system for activities of vital importance, which was set up in 2006, now covers 12 sectors of activity, including transport, health and communications, in particular, and now includes nearly 250 operators of vital importance in the public and private sectors. It aims to strengthen the protection of critical infrastructure both physically and in cyberspace.
France also continues to support regional initiatives with its European partners. Given the interdependence of the critical infrastructures of European countries, their protection requires increased cooperation between members of the European Union. This is why France has made a major contribution to European efforts to develop the Programme for European Critical Infrastructure, which is a project also supported by CTED. We also welcome the publication by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the support of CTED, of a practical guide on the protection of non-nuclear energy infrastructure.
This debate on critical infrastructure is a very concrete and operational illustration of the diversity and complexity of the challenges we face. In the fight against terrorism, which must be tackled on all fronts, we have no other options than enhanced international cooperation. France will naturally continue to play its full part in these efforts.