The fight against terrorist threats must be waged on all fronts [fr]
Protection of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 13 February 2017
At the outset, allow me to thank Ukraine for having taken the initiative of convening this important debate. I should also like to thank the speakers thus far for their insightful statements.
France associates itself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union.
The examples of terrorist attacks that have targeted critical infrastructure, particularly transportation, are regrettably numerous, as we were reminded with the tragic attacks on the Brussels airport and Metro in March 2016 and on the Istanbul airports in December 2015 and June 2016.
This debate gives the Council another opportunity to send a strong and united message on the important of international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, as we have already done in other meetings on the financing of terrorism, on the fight against propaganda and on international legal cooperation. The fight against terrorist threats must be waged on all fronts, with respect for international law and for States’ national authorities. It is especially necessary for each State to have robust preventive and protective measures in place in order to deter terrorists from carrying out attacks against potentially vulnerable targets or, failing that, in order to be able to react rapidly and effectively when they do occur.
France considers protecting the people and ensuring the continuity of the essential national functions to be a strategic priority. In 2006, we set up a security mechanism for vital activities in order to protect them from malicious acts, such as terrorism. Today there are more than 200 public and private entities classified as organs of vital importance that are subject to special rules and vigilance. The list of ths infrastructure is kept confidential and includes administrations, media, transportation entities and industrial actors in different sectors. They ensure activities that are crucial to the functioning and the survival of the nation.
In that context, France welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2341 (2017), the first to be so closely concerned with this key topic. I draw the Council’s attention to two messages contained therein.
The first involves the prevention of and preparation for potential threats. Early identification of the major challenges and vulnerabilities in terms of protecting critical infrastructure, and the elaboration of a targeted strategy to be implemented in the event of an attack are essential. Such approaches help not only to reduce risks, but also to improve responsiveness.
The second message concerns the observation that strengthening critical infrastructure protection cannot be done in isolation. Cooperation, whether intra- or inter-agency or among States, is essential in order to ensure an adequate level of protection. That includes exchanging information, knowledge and experience. Owing to the very nature of the activities carried out by critical infrastructure, close cooperation between the public and private sectors is absolutely essential.
There are many challenges. But the scale and particularly high level of the terrorist threat today must prompt us to strengthen our efforts to protect populations and to ensure the continuity of crucial State services.
Allow me to conclude by thanking once again the Ukrainian presidency of the Security Council for this very useful debate on a question that is both specialized and technical, but also touches on the daily lives of all our fellow citizens. Rest assured that France will continue to play its full part in such efforts.