The Security Council must play a key role to promote sustainable peace [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 25 April 2018
I would like to begin by thanking the Secretary-General for his important briefing and for his exemplary commitment to sustainable peace. I would also like to thank the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, Mr. Dan Neculăescu, and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Mr. Smail Chergui, for their particularly enlightening briefings.
As the French Minister of State stressed yesterday in the General Assembly, recent years have seen significant progress within the United Nations in terms of dealing with crises and in the United Nations approach to them (see A/72/PV.84). We are a long way from the days when the United Nations was involved in crises only through peacekeeping operations. The entire conflict cycle is taken into account today, in a prevention-maintenance-peacebuilding continuum. The crisis situations to which the Security Council must respond have changed in nature and are increasingly asymmetrical, transnational and multidimensional. Many conflicts and civil wars are rooted in development and governance fragilities, the very same that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development seeks to address.
We must therefore adopt a cross-cutting and integrated approach that over time combines security, humanitarian, political and development actions, human rights promotion and the fight against climate change and environmental degradation, by bringing together all partners in a common approach. In that context, what role should the Security Council play? I see three main roles for the Council.
First, the Council must strengthen its preventive action. The United Nations was born out of the objective of prevention. For too long, this aspect has been neglected. The Security Council must be in a better position to anticipate crisis risks through an early-warning system, so as to improve the Council’s collective ability to act in advance of crises. Otherwise, we will be forced to manage crises, at a much higher human and financial cost.
The first steps taken by the Secretary-General are in the right direction — for instance, the setting up of the High-level Advisory Board on Mediation and a rethinking of communication on the concept of prevention as a useful tool before and after conflicts. France fully supports the Secretary-General’s initiatives in that regard.
Regional organizations have an essential role to play. That was the case of the Economic Community of West African States in the Gambia, for example, with success, as President Barrow showed yesterday (see A/72/PV.83). The same should also be the case in Burundi, where, unfortunately, the East African Community’s mediation work is being hampered by the Government’s refusal to engage in a constructive dialogue with the opposition and international partners.
We must also enable the most vulnerable countries to develop their own capacities, so that they are able to deal upstream with the fragilities that fuel crises — by combating climate change and environmental degradation; by fighting unemployment, particularly among young people; by remedying the lack of public services and public infrastructure; by establishing inclusive governance and effective, accountable and accessible institutions; by promoting a judicial system that gives everyone, without discrimination, access to quality justice; by ensuring respect for human rights; and by reducing tensions over natural resources. To ensure lasting peace, we must ensure that no one is left behind, as per our commitment under Agenda 2030.Secondly, when prevention fails and the spiral of violence sets in, it is our responsibility to stop the escalation and to intervene. That is what France has done at the request of its partners in Mali and the Central African Republic. In that context, peacekeeping operations remain a central tool of the Security Council to promote the return to peace. France will remain committed —with strength, consistency and conviction — to supporting peacekeeping operations. It is because these operations are inseparable from the original ambitions of the United Nations that our collective credibility depends on them and the reform work initiated by the Secretary-General must be fully supported.
For peacekeeping operations to be effective, the Council must ensure that they have well-calibrated mandates that are part of a clear political strategy, with defined priorities and timetables. France is committed to that goal in the drafting of mandates, in particular on peacekeeping operations for which it is a penholder, in close coordination with troop-contributing countries. That requirement is all the more important in the case of multidimensional mandates, which, in addition to their need to adapt to particularly complex conflicts, must also build a bridge between peacekeeping and peacebuilding by promoting the treatment of the root causes of crises.
Finally, the Security Council must ensure a successful transition from peacekeeping operations to peacebuilding and sustainability. That approach was pursued in Côte d’Ivoire, working closely with the Ivorian authorities to enable a gradual withdrawal of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire. The presence of Côte d’Ivoire in the Security Council today is an undeniable symbol of that success.
More recently, in Liberia, the peacebuilding plan developed with the support of the Peacebuilding Commission also facilitated a successful transition. The Commission demonstrated the invaluable support it can provide to the Security Council through its expertise and its role in facilitating coordination and exchange among all of its partners. France fully supports strengthening the Peacebuilding Support Office and bolstering the Peacebuilding Fund, which must be able to preserve what makes it most valuable, that is, its flexibility and ability to react. As a token of its commitment, France contributed to the Fund last year after several years of not doing so. We have also decided to focus our development assistance to fragile countries and countries emerging from conflict. A French fund for resilience and peace has raised up to €100 million a year to that end, and will see its resources double by 2020. It is therefore a significant commitment for my country.
While the demand for conflict prevention and the links between peace and development have become apparent, it is now up to the international community — that is to say all of us — to translate this determination into action for lasting peace. Ensuring lasting peace requires an effective peace and security architecture, a development system adapted to new challenges and based on an Organization with renewed management — a United Nations capable of facing the challenges of the twenty-first century. These three reforms go hand in hand; we cannot consider them separately. The Secretary-General can count on France’s determined support in this endeavour.
France will contribute actively to the debates for the effective implementation of lasting peace in a constructive spirit. It will continue to pursue a firm policy in this area, whether on the ground or as part of its responsibilities at the United Nations, in order to take — with the Members of the United Nations — multilateral action in the service of peace and security.