Peacekeeping: we must aim for greater speed and efficiency [fr]
United Nations peacekeeping operation - Intervention by Mrs. Mme Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 21 December 2017
First, I should like to thank you, Sir, for organizing this very timely meeting. During the course of 2017, the Council has repeatedly reaffirmed the value of peacekeeping operations as one of the most essential tools of the United Nations for peace and international security. By emphasizing the need for continued efforts to have adequate peacekeeping capabilities, this meeting contributes to that discussion.
I would also like to thank the Assistant Secretary-General for her very comprehensive and concrete briefing. France shares the Secretariat’s assessment of the need for agile, rapidly deployable forces that have the specialized capabilities and expertise necessary for the proper implementation of their mandates. I wish to highlight three points in particular.
First, France welcomes the efforts of the Secretariat to develop an ambitious and innovative approach to force generation. The past few years have made clear the shortcomings that peacekeeping operations face, in terms of air capabilities, medical support, equipment, pre-deployment training, intelligence and more. We must aim for greater speed and greater efficiency.
In the face of the existing constraints, innovation is the best way to respond to such challenges. For example, the establishment of the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was a breakthrough that can be described as historic. It has already made it possible to increase the number and develop the specialties of the contingents ready to be deployed within operations. It should be further strengthened, in particular by promoting better use of its levels 2 and 3. At the same time, ongoing efforts should be made to increase the number of countries accessing level 1 through interaction with troop-contributing countries.
France is also supporting the development of new force-generation mechanisms. The Force Generation Conference of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), held last May, was a major milestone in ensuring the predictability of peacekeeping capabilities. That model should be applied to other operations and other specialized capabilities, so as to tailor the resources made available to the needs of our missions.
We also welcome the development of joint commitments and smart pledges involving several Member States, aimed at generating critical capabilities and allowing each Member State, according to its means and ability, to participate in improved operational performance. In that regard, we commend the progress made at the Vancouver conference. Those mechanisms have made it possible to provide critical capabilities, particularly air capabilities, within the framework of MINUSMA, but also to broaden the spectrum of training needed to acquire new know-how related to asymmetric environments, such as protection against improvised explosive devices. We also support the goal of increasing the number of women in peacekeeping operations.
In view of those needs, and this is my second point, France supports the efforts of the Secretariat and troop-contributors to strengthen their capabilities. Through our bilateral partnerships and our security and defence cooperation, France has been contributing to the training and equipment of many contingents that are to be deployed in peacekeeping operations. Thus, on the African continent alone, France has participated in the training of more than 29,000 African officers and soldiers per year, in 11 countries and in over 57 different subjects.
France is also working with many troop-contributing countries to foster the development of French-language peacekeeping capabilities. That is the reason behind the Paris Conference on Peacekeeping in the French-speaking Environment organized last year, and the establishment of the Boutros-Ghali Peacekeeping Observatory, which seeks to strengthen French-speaking peacekeeping capabilities. In cooperation with the International Organization of la Francophonie, France has developed and made available to its partners a course for learning French for armed forces personnel in a United Nations environment called “En Avant”.
Capacity-building support for troop-contributing countries also includes operational support and deployment support. As Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian pointed out at the Council’s high-level meeting on 20 September (see S/PV.8051), we must continue to create new ways to better involve and empower the States primarily concerned by the threats in the world so that they can take charge of their own security. That was our wish in supporting the Group of Five for the Sahel initiative, which strengthens the capacities of the States concerned to better deal with the challenges of the region, which concern us all.
Our support for capacity-building in various countries is being carried out, naturally, in synergy with the efforts of international organizations, including, of course, the United Nations and the European Union. In Mali, the Niger, the Central African Republic and Somalia, the European Union is committed to strengthening African peace and security capabilities through its European Union Military Training and European Union Capacity-Building Missions operations and through financial support for operations.
In order to meet the challenges of effective peacekeeping, both the Secretariat and Member States must step up their efforts. Providing peacekeeping operations with adequate and effective capabilities is the shared responsibility of the Secretariat and Member States. Contingent training is primarily the responsibility of the State concerned. In order to meet the current challenges of peacekeeping, it is particularly necessary to continue and intensify individual and collective training efforts to deal with the asymmetric environment, which requires very specific capabilities.
It is our responsibility to give each one of our soldiers initial basic training. That would ensure their safety and that of the people they are tasked with protecting. The States Members of the United Nations must also guarantee the highest level of conduct and discipline in order to ensure respect for United Nations principles, in particular in the fight against exploitation and sexual abuse.
Identifying capability gaps and properly coordinating efforts to bridge them are also vital. Otherwise, the individual efforts of the States Members of the United Nations will not be maximized. The Secretariat’s proposal to implement a standby coordination mechanism that would allow States to request and provide useful information appears to be a step in the right direction. As underscored by the Secretariat, it would be useful for efforts to enable triangular partnerships to be further developed to cover issues, such as specialized capabilities and language competency.
At the organizational level of the Secretariat, we fully support the positive impact of the Secretary-General’s reforms of the peace and security and management pillars, so as to ensure that peacekeeping operations are more effective. The goal of implementing the values and principles of the Charter of the United Nations with the goal of fostering international peace and security is at the core of peacekeeping. Our joint efforts will enable us to implement that vision.