No peace is secure if people do not feel concrete effects [fr]
High-Level debate « Post-conflict reconstruction and peace, security and stability »
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 5 december 2018
Let me begin by again expressing to our American friends, as President Macron did, our deepest sympathies on the passing away of President George Herbert Walker Bush.
It is a great honour for all of us to host President Alassane Ouattara today. On behalf of France, I would like to warmly thank you, Mr. President, and through you Côte d’Ivoire’s presidency of the Security Council, for having taken the welcome initiative of holding this crucial meeting on the issue of post-conflict reconstruction. The fact that this initiative originated from Côte d’Ivoire lends it particular importance and significance.
Côte d’Ivoire is in many ways a model of post-conflict recovery and reconstruction, as well as a source of inspiration for our work here at the United Nations. This meeting also comes at a pivotal moment for the United Nations, with the major reforms under way to the peace and security pillar, which are helping to put the sustainability of peace at the heart of our efforts. In that regard, I would like to thank the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for their important briefings, engagement and exemplary partnership.
I will address the three inseparable dimensions of post-conflict reconstruction, namely, economic reconstruction, the reconstruction of institutions and the reconstruction of what I call living together.
My first point concerns the reconstruction of the economic fabric. Repairing what the war destroyed is the first urgent need following a conflict, that is, roads, infrastructure and the means of production. It is about allowing economic life to resume. Montesquieu said that the natural effect of trade was to bring about peace. History has repeatedly shown us that the resumption of economic exchanges is often the best guarantee of lasting peace. The remarkable resurgence of economic activity that Côte d’Ivoire experienced after a decade of civil war is emblematic in that regard. The courageous decisions that you took, Mr. President, greatly contributed to that.
No peace is secure if people do not feel concrete effects in their daily lives. We must also see to it that no one is left behind during the crucial phase of post-conflict reconstruction, including ensuring that growth is sufficiently inclusive so as not to sow the seeds of tomorrow’s conflicts. Post-conflict reconstruction relies on the mobilization of all actors, including international financial institutions and multilateral and bilateral donors, but also the private sector. That is how France is directing its efforts as part of its prevention, resilience and sustainable peace strategy, adopted this year, which aims to involve the private sector. It is indeed one of the keys to economic recovery, which is essential to lasting peace. Everyone sees that there can be no lasting peace without sustainable development.
That is why post-conflict reconstruction must fully integrate the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
My second message is about rebuilding institutions. We know that good governance, which of course is itself one of the main goals, also allows societies and States to be more crisis-resilient. Post-conflict reconstruction therefore also means the rebuilding of institutions. It is fundamentally about rebuilding the social contract, in a spirit of Government accountability and the restoration of the rule of law. All the examples demonstrate that judicial institutions have a major role to play in this phase of reconstruction: victims must be able to again turn to the courts with the requisite trust. That is one of the keys to success. The processes of security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration are often also essential to rebuild an inclusive, law-abiding army and to return to the State the monopoly on the legitimate use of force. As President Ouattara recalled, the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire provided valuable support to the Ivorian authorities in that area.
My third message is about what I referred to earlier as rebuilding living together. After a conflict, especially after a civil war, it is society itself that must be repaired and rebuilt by working to reconcile yesterday’s enemies. That is why peace must be prepared for as early as possible, ideally from the beginning of the conflict. In that spirit, we fully support the Secretary-General’s reform of the peace and security pillar, which is aimed at better calibrating the mandate of peacekeeping operations and preparing the political solution from the start of a crisis. I also commend the valuable work of the Peacebuilding Commission, as a complement to the work of the Security Council. To succeed, we must also act at the community level in order to facilitate reconciliation on the ground. What happens on the ground is always the gauge of peace. The Peacebuilding Fund is an extremely effective tool for carrying out targeted actions in that regard. Although they are not always visible, they nevertheless remain essential to community reconciliation.
I also welcome the Secretary-General’s determination to focus more on young people and women, the latter often being the first victims of conflict. In that respect, I welcome your commitment, Mr. President, to the equality of women and men and the fight against gender-based violence. Discrimination, which perpetuates violence, must be combated without mercy in and of itself, but also because it slows the reconstruction process. Women play an irreplaceable role in re-establishing links and working for reconciliation; but they can exercise that role only if they are guaranteed a safe environment in which their voice is heard. Similarly, involving young people in the peace process means giving a voice to future generations and creating the conditions for a more lasting peace.
France is fully committed, at the bilateral and multilateral levels, to working for conflict prevention and peacebuilding, particularly in the crucial phase of post-conflict reconstruction. For example, France has set up a fund for peace and resilience to support recovery from crisis and restore social cohesion in four regions: the Sahel, the Lake Chad basin, the Iraq-Syria zone and the Central African Republic. The fund, which is partially financed by a tax on financial transactions, is endowed with €100 million per year, an amount that will increase to €200 million annually by 2020.Before concluding my remarks, I would like to echo your call, Mr. President, as well as that of Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, concerning African peace operations. As President Macron reaffirmed in his address to the General Assembly in September (see A/73/PV.6), France fully supports the initiative of the African Union aimed at the adoption of an ambitious draft resolution on African peace operations before the end of the year. That essential initiative has been carried forward by the African Union and the Security Council for several years now. Significant progress has been made since the most recent resolutions adopted on the subject, whether in terms of contributions to the African Union Peace Fund — up to $74 million — or the achievement of human rights compliance frameworks. Our common understanding of the added value of African peace operations and their necessary complementarity with United Nations peacekeeping operations has been strengthened. Today they play a major role on the African continent. It is therefore time to recognize the important efforts undertaken by the African Union and its member States, including the commitment to finance 25 per cent of African peace operations, and allow those operations to enjoy predictable and sustainable financing from United Nations mandatory contributions.