France calls for more action on conflict prevention [fr]
Peace and security in Africa: The centrality of preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention and resolution
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 7 Octobe 2019
I would first like to thank the Secretary-General and the three briefers for their presentations.
It is more important than ever before to step up our investment in conflict prevention. The authors of the Charter of the United Nations gave the Security Council a clear mandate in that regard. Yet it must be said that we tend to focus on existing crises instead of trying to prevent those of tomorrow, although investing in pre-empting conflicts is much less costly in terms of human lives and suffering, of course, but also financially.
Significant efforts have been made in recent years. In that connection, I would like to commend the initiative of the Secretary-General in stepping up peace diplomacy and the reforms that have been undertaken to make the United Nations system more effective in that area, including the strengthening of mediation capacities and the early-warning role of United Nations country teams. I would also like to acknowledge the work of the office of Adama Dieng, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. That new momentum in favour of conflict prevention has enjoyed a remarkable success in recent years. For example, this past year in Madagascar, the mediation led by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Mr. Abdoulaye Bathily, in close coordination with the African Union and the Southern African Development Community, helped to avert a serious political crisis.
Yet we can do more — the Security Council should more often be seized of situations that present a risk of conflict. Bearing that in mind, we are continuing to keeping a close eye on the situation in Burundi, since the destabilization of that country would have tragic consequences for peace and security throughout the entire region.
The Peacebuilding Commission should also focus more on situations that present a risk and make recommendations to the Council. The Commission’s recent meeting on Burkina Faso demonstrated the extent to which that forum can establish a constructive dialogue with countries in fragile situations.
One of the great contemporary challenges for better conflict prevention is to take climate risks into account. The United Nations system must be able to take a comprehensive view of the risks of the impact of climate change on international security. We therefore recommend that a report of the Secretary-General be prepared with a view to providing a regular assessment of those risks, as well as concrete recommendations.
Finally, we must promote the meaningful participation of women, young people and civil society in mediation and conflict prevention processes. In that regard, I welcome the contribution of the FemWise-Africa Network, which makes it possible to deploy women mediators on the ground.
We must also work even more closely with African regional and subregional organizations. The strengthening of the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations under the auspices of Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations enhances the effectiveness of our preventive diplomacy. That partnership is of strategic importance to us, and we are therefore determined to support it.
In Burkina Faso in 2015 and in the Gambia in 2016, the coordinated and united action of the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States ensured a successful outcome. Earlier this year, in the Central African Republic, the United Nations and the African Union facilitated together the negotiation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic, thanks in particular to the strong and perfectly coordinated commitment of Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Mr. Smaïl Chergui.
It is essential that we better coordinate our efforts. In the Sudan, for example, it was the African Union and Ethiopia that had the highest chance of bringing about a successful agreement. The United Nations and all those friendly to the Sudan supported that mediation, while at the same time taking care not to create interference. African subregional organizations also play a leading role in such situations. I wish to refer here to the efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in particular, which led to the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan one year ago.
Preventive diplomacy in Africa requires us to take advantage of all the tools at our disposal in a spirit of partnership and effectiveness. France is working in that spirit with its African partners, and the members of the Council can rest assured that we will continue to do so.