7 November 2016 - Peace operations facing asymmetrical threats: The operations must be equipped with appropriate resources [fr]
Peace operations facing asymmetrical threats - Statement of Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 7 November 2016
I would like to begin by warmly thanking the Senegalese presidency for convening this meeting on a very important topic for the Security Council and for the United Nations in general. I also to thank today’s briefers: Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Ms. Michaëlle Jean, Secretary-General of the International Organization of La Francophonie; Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Mr.Jean-Paul Laborde, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate; and Mr. Arthur Boutellis, Director of the Brian Urquhart Centre for Peace Operations.
As we have just heard, the United Nations must face up to increasingly complex and non-permissive environments as they engage in actions in the field. That has been true for some time now for many special political missions, which operate in particularly difficult circumstances in terms of security. That has been the case for over 14 years in Afghanistan, where the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has supported the restoration of governance and has done so faced with the threat of the Taliban and other terrorist groups. And the same can be said for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the African Union Mission to Somalia.
In the framework of peacekeeping operations, the prevailing need of protecting civilians is increasingly confronted by asymmetrical threats. That is particularly the case in Mali, where the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) must face such threats while it focuses on the protection of civilians and supports the peace process. The adoption of a robust posture is clearly not just desirable, but indispensable. In Security Council resolution 2295 (2016), the Council conferred the necessary mandate upon MINUSMA in order to be able to respond to the threats it faces and to protect Blue Helmets.
In that regard, I wish to pay tribute once again to the soldiers of MINUSMA and to all the soldiers of peacekeeping operations, who perform their duties in particularly difficult conditions. In particular today, I am thinking about the Togolese contingent of MINUSMA, saddened by the death of one Blue Helmet, the wounding of several of his comrades and the death of several Malian civilians who died in those attacks. I extend the condolences of France to the families of the victims and to the authorities of Togo and Mali.
MINUSMA is not alone in operating in a very complex theatre, and it can count on the full support of France. Every day, the Barkhane Force carries out counter-terrorism operations in Mali, and more widely in the Sahel to support States in the region. It does so while simultaneously providing support to MINUSMA and by working to improve security of the Blue Helmets.
The need to face such asymmetrical threats should shape our deployment of peacekeeping operations and also the way in which they function. There is a need to make efforts along those lines on several fronts.
First, with regard to planning, an in-depth analysis upstream of deployment would allow us to properly identify threats and challenges that peacekeeping operations must respond to. The establishment of the Strategic Force Generation and Capabilities Planning Cell, as proposed by the Secretary-General and to which France provides financial support, should provide us with a body that is in place to respond to the need for improved planning.
Secondly, building on that, we need to properly define the mandates and the stance to be adopted by peacekeeping operations. The Security Council must give a clear mandate to peacekeeping operations in terms of the use of force as and when that may be necessary. The goal is to foster a robust posture that will allow for a response to threats and also allow the mandate to be properly implemented while such threats are grappled with. That has been the step taken by the Council in terms of MINUSMA, but also in the case of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where we mandated an Intervention Brigade.
Thirdly, peacekeeping operations must be equipped with appropriate resources, whether those be human resources or the necessary equipment in order to fulfil their mandate. Intelligence-gathering and analysis capacity are vital to anticipate and understand the threats on the ground. The development of autonomous intelligence-gathering capacities must contribute along those lines. We must also strengthening the security of United Nations staff on the ground, including by demining. In that regard, I wish to commend action undertaken by the United Nations Mine Action Service in many theatres.
Finally, given the urgency of certain situations, it is important to think about the introduction of reactive procedures that would equip the contingents with appropriate matériel.
Having troops who speak the local languages is also an essential factor, as underscored at the ministerial conference on peacekeeping in Francophone environments in Paris. That conference brought together several French-speaking and non-French speaking troop-contributing countries to identify necessary strategies in order to better respond to the specific threats posed in theatres operation in the French-speaking world. That was not just an issue of the language, but also force generation, the provision of equipment and crisis emergence. I would like to pay particular tribute to the efforts made by the International Organization of La Francophonie and the personal engagement of its Secretary-General to uphold the role of the Francophone community as a key actor in the international community, including in international peace and security.
Responding to all the challenges that lie before us requires deepening the triangular dialogue on cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries. The establishment of a Strategic Force Generation and Capabilities Planning Cell, a step that we support, will contribute to that cooperation.
Responding to asymmetrical threats, but also permanently reducing them, means that we have to identify the root causes and the mechanisms to identify early warning signs and to act in response in advance. That involves thinking about the way in which the United Nations system, at all levels, takes into account the threat of violent extremism. In that regard, the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism proposes useful and very relevant recommendations.
The theatres where peacekeeping operations are deployed are particularly vulnerable to the threat of violent extremism, given the political, security and, indeed, economic and social challenges that loom over them. That point that has been made repeatedly. Given the reality with which we are confronted, we need to better understand that phenomenon and craft appropriate responses in those theatres, always upholding human rights. To that end, we would like to encourage the strengthening of contacts among peacekeeping operations, United Nations agencies and th relevant United Nations bodies on combating violent extremism, especially the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate. That dimension must be taken into account in a more systematic fashion in the support given to host countries — for example, in the framework of national programmes on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, or support to security sector reform. The exchange of good practices should be encouraged in order to help host countries to better face that scourge.
Peacekeeping operations have to deal with increasingly complex contexts and challenges. They are all the more necessary for protecting civilian populations and in maintaining international peace and security. France will continue to participate and to very actively support United Nations peacekeeping operations, and we will play our full part in the quest for greater effectiveness and greater relevance of such operations. That is in fact one of the core goals of the Organization.