Strengthening peacekeeping operations in Africa [fr]
Peace and Security in Africa: Strengthening peacekeeping operations in Africa
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 20 November 2018
I would like to begin by thanking the Chinese presidency of the Security Council for having organized this important debate. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General and the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union (AU) for their very informative briefings and their unflagging commitment to the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union.
At the outset, I would also like to echo the outstanding statement made on behalf of the three African countries on the Council by the Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire. We are completely in line with that position.
For France, the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union is of strategic importance today, and we are resolutely committed to supporting its development, which has immense potential in our view. That partnership is fully in keeping with current trends in peacekeeping and is a major component of the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative.
In that context, we welcome the progress made under the leadership of the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, especially since the April 2017 signing of the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. That partnership is part of our day-to-day reality and is now being expressed in a concrete way on a daily basis on the ground. I would mention, for example, the Central African Republic, where the United Nations and the African Union are working hand in hand to restore peace and stability in the country through the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic, which is the sole framework for achieving a comprehensive and inclusive peace agreement. It is also because of the importance of that partnership that we continue to advocate for United Nations peacekeeping operations with a strong collective commitment, clear mandates for a genuine political strategy and provided with adequate means. For the same reason, we would warn against any reconsideration, including financial, of frameworks that were determined collectively for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The partnership between the United Nations and the African Union is of strategic importance for France; a reason for that is the increasing strength of African peace operations. In the face of evolving threats in Africa and the need for the United Nations and the AU to become more responsive and efficient, we consider that African peace operations represent a real opportunity for a better division of labour between peace enforcement and peacekeeping with the United Nations. We see it on the ground with the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel, the African Union Mission in Somalia and the Multinational Joint Task Force deployed in the Lake Chad basin. Those African peace operations play a major role today and have at least three points in common: they are better adapted to their environment and to the threat; they have a clear mandate with a single objective; and they are less costly than United Nations peacekeeping operations. Those operations therefore have, in terms of their range and diversity, undeniable advantages.
However, it is clear that African peace operations still do not count on predictable and sustainable funding. It is therefore essential to remedy that situation. That is why, as President Macron reaffirmed in his address to the General Assembly in September (see A/73/PV.6), France supports the African Union initiative aimed at the adoption of an ambitious draft resolution by the end of the year. That initiative has two cornerstones. First, we are dealing with a decision made by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union to support the African Union Peace Fund, which will cover 25 per cent of the cost of African peace operations. That is followed by the African Union’s request to the United Nations to cover 75 per cent of the cost of future operations, including through mandatory contributions.
In that context, France welcomes the reforms led by the African Union and the progress made in cooperation with the United Nations since the adoption of resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017). That progress represents milestones in defining the framework we wish to give to African peace operations. I would refer in particular of the Secretary-General’s proposals for joint threat assessment, planning, mandate-setting and evaluation of African peace operations. I would mention as well the work on the monitoring and reporting mechanism on the execution of mandates. Lastly, I refer to the development of compliance frameworks for international humanitarian law, human rights and conduct and discipline, which are crucial in terms of accountability as well as for the support that the United Nations can provide to African operations. That progress must also be part of a framework that responds in particular to two principles: the primacy of the Security Council, which has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and the need for clear mandate that define a limited duration and restricted area.
In that context, France considers that the important progress made by our partners in the African Union must now be strongly supported by the Security Council through the adoption of a framework draft resolution that definitively allows the Council to mobilize, on a case-by-case basis, United Nations mandatory contributions to co-finance African operations led by the African Union or mandated by the African Union. I emphasize that last point because coalitions and subregional organizations, such as the Economic Community of West African States and the Southern African Development Community, mobilize African forces who must also, when mandated by the AU, be able to receive support from the African Union and the United Nations.
The aim of that framework draft resolution would be to establish a renewed partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. That partnership should respond to the security challenges of our century on the African continent by supporting African forces as they grow in strength and bringing the solidarity of the international community to the fight against the terrorist groups and criminal networks that threaten stability and prosperity on the continent. The countries of the African Union can count on France’s resolute support throughout that journey.
I would like to conclude by once again paying tribute to all Blue Helmets deployed on peacekeeping operations, particularly those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic who recently made the ultimate sacrifice.