We must intensify our efforts to enable full implementation of res. 2532 [fr]
COVID-19 / IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTION 2532
STATEMENT BY MR WADID BENAABOU
DEPUTY POLITICAL COORDINATOR OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF FRANCE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL
= Translation from French =
New York, le 9 September 2020
First of all, I would like to thank Niger for organizing this meeting at the request of France and Tunisia. I also thank Rosemary di Carlo, Mark Lowcock and Jean-Pierre Lacroix for their presentations.
More than two months after the adoption of resolution 2532, the time has come to draw an initial assessment but also, and above all, to call for a collective awakening: as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, the top priority must be the implementation of a cessation of hostilities and a humanitarian pause. The progress presented by our three briefers towards the implementation of the resolution is an important first step, and I would like to pay tribute here to the work of all UN actors. But we are still a long way off and it is time to put words into action.
First of all, I would like to recall that the cessation of hostilities is an indispensable condition for an effective fight against the pandemic. While the Secretary-General’s appeal to that effect has been supported by more than 180 countries, more than 20 armed groups and numerous regional and civil society organizations, much remains to be done to achieve an effective cessation of hostilities. In Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan and the Sahel, the situation remains very unstable and civilian populations continue to pay the price.
As Jean-Pierre Lacroix indicated, the peacekeepers are relentlessly pursuing their efforts, often in very difficult conditions. I would like to pay tribute to them here. We must continue to support peacekeeping operations by enabling them to fully implement their mandates despite the pandemic. France is determined to do so. We are, in this regard, ready to welcome in our military hospitals foreign peacekeepers who are sick from COVID-19 and who require urgent care.
On the humanitarian front, we must collectively support the full and complete implementation of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19. France will continue to work to that end, both through its bilateral and multilateral support. President Emmanuel Macron was one of the first, last April, to call for massive support for the most fragile countries, particularly in Africa, to face COVID-19. Since the beginning of May, the European Union has coordinated more than 65 flights as part of a humanitarian airlift, transporting more than 1,700 humanitarian and medical personnel and more than 1,200 tons of aid. Last June, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to host one of the flights planned as part of this airlift, together with his Belgian counterpart and the European Commissioner for Crisis Management.
Everything must also be done to ensure safe and unimpeded humanitarian access and to protect humanitarian workers and medical personnel, whose remarkable work I commend. The increase in attacks against humanitarian personnel is extremely worrying. We will not compromise on this issue: the perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice. Respect for international humanitarian law is an obligation for all.
Stability and peace also depend on the resilience of health systems. In this regard, we must support the efforts of the United Nations and the WHO, which are coordinating the international response to the crisis. WHO must be strengthened in its normative, warning and coordinating role. This will not, of course, exclude the possibility of undertaking the necessary reforms and learning all the lessons from the management of the current crisis.
Finally, resolution 2532 recognizes the essential role that women play in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the negative and disproportionate effects that this pandemic has on women, girls, refugees and displaced persons in particular. It is essential that we work together to minimize these effects and enable their full participation in the development and implementation of the response to the pandemic. France, which will organize the Generation Equality Forum in the first half of 2021, in partnership with Mexico and UN Women, is more determined than ever.
Mr. President, there is no time to lose. We must collectively intensify our efforts to enable the full implementation of resolution 2532. There is no alternative to effectively combat the pandemic. You can count on France’s continued and unwavering support.