Peacekeeping: important challenges remain to be faced [fr]
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 9 September 2019
At the outset, I would like to emphasize that France emphatically condemns the attacks that took place in Burkina Faso and claimed many lives, including those of women and children. France offers its condolences to the families of the victims and reaffirms its solidarity with the countries of the region in their efforts to combat terrorism.I would also like to thank the Under-Secretary-General for his briefing.
During the high-level week of the General Assembly at its seventy-third session, 52 countries endorsed the Declaration of Shared Commitments on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, which crowned the Secretary-General’s initiative on peacekeeping reform. At that time, France expressed its full support for this initiative through the President of the Republic.
Now, one year after its launch, it is time to take stock of the Action for Peacekeeping initiative and chart our path for the coming year.
The results so far have been very positive, and I wish to particularly highlight the following points.
- Since September 2018, a further 100 countries have joined the Declaration of Shared Commitments, indicating that the vast majority of Member States have engaged with the Secretariat in favour of reforming peacekeeping operations to ensure that they are capable of addressing the challenges of the twenty-first century.
- Structures have been put in place, both within the Secretariat and by Member States, to enable us effectively assess missions, identify both difficulties and good examples and fully implement our respective commitments.
- The partnership framework that underpins the Declaration of Shared Commitments is working. Thus, the shortcomings identified by the Secretariat with respect to certain contingents within the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) have been taken into account by troop-contributing countries. France has, inter alia, provided the necessary training and the performance of its troops is now fully satisfactory. We hope that this partnership framework will be maintained and that regular dialogue can be established between the Security Council and the Secretariat on performance issues in particular.
We must now move on to the next stage, given that significant challenges remain.
We are at a crossroads. Some processes have been created, new mechanisms tested and initial positive outcomes achieved, but we cannot rest on our laurels if we wish to make this reform a success. This concerns all of us — the Secretariat, the Council and all Member States. Financial contributors, troop contributors and penholders all have a role to play, and therein lies the crux of triangular cooperation.
The quest for performance must continue. The effective and shared implementation of the comprehensive performance assessment system and its extension to all missions; the systematization of predeployment visits; the light coordination mechanism to ensure that training offers and needs jibe; and strategic planning efforts integrated into all mission components are all elements that will contribute to the ongoing improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of peacekeeping operations.
This performance objective affects not only military and police personnel, but also civilians. Much work remains to be done to ensure that all missions have the right people in the right posts and that everyone possesses the necessary qualifications. The skills being sought today for the head of a peacekeeping operation are no longer the same as they were 10 years ago. The United Nations human resources policy must be tailoredto take that into account.
Our goal is to establish a genuine culture of performance that is measurable, goal-based and braced by clear accountability and incentive mechanisms, as well as remedial action.
France plays a major role as a permanent member of the Security Council, financial contributor and troop contributor to national operations in support of peacekeeping operations and intends to be at the forefront to ensure the successful implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping initiative.
We pledge our full support politically, within the Council as a penholder, so that peacekeeping operations have clear, benchmarked and prioritized mandates in order to advance well-defined and transparent political objectives, as was the case for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MINUSCA and MINUSMA.
We also pledge our full technical support in terms of training and supply of equipment. France, which is heavily involved in the training of the African soldiers likely to be deployed in peacekeeping operations each year, will maintain that commitment, both bilaterally and in coordination with regional peacekeeping training schools. Our support for French language acquisition will also continue. We are convinced that the linguistic dimension underpins the success of Missions, particularly in Francophone environments, and we will continue to work actively in that direction. We will also commit to stepping up our financial contribution to the Department of Peace Operations.
In conclusion, I would be remiss if I failed to reiterate the importance of two elements: on the one hand, adequate funding for those Missions and, on the other, the proper coordination and cooperation of peacekeeping operations with the various local and regional actors on the ground.
Regional organizations are playing an increasing role in the promotion of peace and security, as provided for under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations. Strengthening the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union is a major priority of our work, and it is imperative to establish United Nations support for African peace operations as soon as possible. We therefore welcome the fact that the African members of the Council have decided to raise this issue once again. That not only acknowledges African ownership, but also the subsidiarity required in the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, while respecting the primacy of the Security Council. That is one of France’s strategic priorities.