Support for African peace operations [fr]
The role of States, regional arrangements and the United Nations in the
prevention and resolution of conflicts
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 6 december 2018
At the outset, I should like to warmly thank Côte d’Ivoire for organizing this important debate, presided over by the Ivorian Minister for Foreign Affairs, whose presence and statement I welcome. The successful experience of Côte d’Ivoire — which is in many ways exemplary, as you have just recalled, Sir — certainly imbues your message with particular weight as regards our work. Allow me also to thank you for the warm words you have just pronounced regarding my country. Better coordination between the United Nations, regional organizations and States is essential to meeting our common goal of improved conflict prevention and resolution.
I would also like to thank the Secretary-General, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Chairperson of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for their presence, their important briefings and their exemplary commitment.
Today, I will deliver three principal messages on behalf of France. The first is a call to further strengthen the necessary synergy between the United Nations and regional organizations. The second emphasizes the absolutely strategic nature and importance of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union. The third is a message of support for African peace operations.
My first message is a call to pool our efforts to better prevent and resolve conflicts. France fully supports the vision of the Secretary-General. We must do more upstream by investing in conflict prevention, and downstream by supporting peace and reconciliation processes. France once again commends the efforts of the Secretary-General and his team to strengthen the prevention and mediation capacities of the United Nations.
To better prevent conflicts, it is imperative to go beyond the silo approach and to decompartmentalize our interventions. In that sense, the humanitarian-development-peace nexus must be given practical expression on the ground in order to provide comprehensive and consistent responses to crises. That is not a conceptual issue; it is a question of the necessity of efficiency and, I would say, common sense. It is a response to the challenges on the ground that must be given with respect to institutional or bureaucratic considerations, and not the other way around. That is why we need to strengthen the exchange between United Nations agencies and among bilateral and multilateral actors in order to make the best use of resources and skills. For the same reason, we must as a matter of necessity promote synergies between the United Nations and regional organizations.
This is not about a political game or trying to please any particular person. It is a question of being more effective together in the service of our shared goals. Regional and subregional organizations have assets that the United Nations does not have. They are closer to the action, more often have a more in-depth knowledge of what is happening on the ground, and have invaluable human networks. We must therefore work together and in a spirit of trust, share information and analysis, and carry out joint initiatives. It is together, hand in hand, that we can advance peace. We are convinced that the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations is one of the keys to the success of multilateralism, in which we believe now more than ever. In that regard, I wish to commend the efforts of the Peacebuilding Commission, which is cooperating ever more closely with regional organizations in the context of the so-called country-specific configurations. That is a step in the right direction that should be continued and expanded.
The State is also indispensable of course. National authorities, but also civil societies, especially women’s organizations, must be fully involved in international efforts to prevent or resolve conflicts. We all know that ownership by the actors concerned is the prerequisite for lasting peace.
My second message concerns the special importance of the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. France is of the view that the partnership between the United Nations, the African Union and African subregional organizations is of absolutely strategic importance today. That is why we are resolutely committed to supporting its development, which in our view has immense potential. We welcome the important progress made under the joint leadership of the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, especially since the signing of the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security in April 2017.That partnership is manifest today in a very concrete and operational way on the ground to prevent crisis and conflict situations. To name just a few of many examples, the case of The Gambia is an example worth following. The combined efforts of the United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS have helped to prevent the post-electoral crisis from turning into a conflict of which the people would have been, as always, the main victims. More recently, Madagascar has also seen the success of joint prevention efforts led by the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, the United Nations and the European Union, also making it possible to avoid a major crisis surrounding the organization of presidential elections.
We further welcome the efforts undertaken by the African Union and its member States, as well as by African subregional organizations, to prevent and respond to crisis situations on the continent, thanks in particular to the Silencing the Guns by 2020 initiative, which we fully support. The African Peer Review Mechanism is also a valuable tool for conflict prevention in Africa.
My third message is a call to support African peace operations. As Council members know, France fully supports the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel, and we will continue to plead resolutely for the widest possible support from the United Nations to the Force, which embodies the commitment of the States of the Sahel to their own safety.
As I recalled yesterday in the presence of President Alassane Ouattara (see S/PV.8413), France fully supports the initiative, led by the African Union and the three African members of the Security Council, aimed at adopting an ambitious draft resolution on African peace operations by the end of the year. Such operations will enable intervention as early as possible before crises degenerate and destabilize one or more States in the long term. They testify to the African Union’s desire to become more deeply involved in the security of the African continent, as Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire so resolutely and eloquently recalled today.
Let us all stand alongside our African partners in support of their efforts. It is in our interest and corresponds to the flow of history.