We must be able to understand the factors of fragility and their consequences [fr]
THE CHALLENGES OF MAINTAINING PEACE AND SECURITY IN FRAGILE CONTEXTS
STATEMENT DELIVERED BY MR. JEAN-BAPTISTE LEMOYNE,
MINISTER OF STATE FOR TOURISM, FRENCH NATIONALS ABROAD AND FRANCOPHONIE, ATTACHED TO THE MINISTER FOR EUROPE AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS
IN THE SECURITY COUNCIL
By videoconference, January 6, 2021
Thank you very much, Mr President,
Mr. Secretary General,
Mr. Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Ministers,
First of all, I would like to warmly congratulate Tunisia, which takes over the presidency of the Security Council at the beginning of this year, and also to congratulate the new members of this Council, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway, and to greet familiar faces at the beginning of the year.
I would also like to extend France’s condolences to President Issoufou and to the people of Niger, following the attacks perpetrated on 2 January in Niger in the villages of Tchombangou and Zaroumdareye, which caused the death of several dozen civilians and injured many others. France condemns in the strongest possible terms these heinous crimes whose perpetrators must be brought to justice.
Thank you for the organisation of this meeting. I also thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and the former President of Liberia. This debate is also in line with a debate we had in March 2018 on these peacekeeping operations. It was a Dutch Presidency at the time, and I would like to emphasise three points today:
An observation: I believe that we must be able to understand the factors of fragility and their consequences.
Two: to recall how far we have come, because our United Nations system has reformed.
And then three: also, perhaps, to discuss further ways in which our intervention frameworks may evolve.
I therefore return to the first point: the observation. I believe that the effort of analysis to which you are inviting us, Mr. President, is essential because the way in which the factors of fragility are apprehended has political consequences on the action of the United Nations system and its partners.
These factors of fragility, as it has already been said, are multidimensional. They can be sources of threats to international peace and security, and can also create endless crisis cycles. And I believe that the common denominator is the weakness of States.
These fragilities expose populations and UN staff to new risks, to more dangerous environments, to threats that cross borders, and that flourish in a context of weakening institutional partners and even governance gaps. They thus provide fertile ground for the growth of terrorism and the weakening of peace processes.
I believe that this observation should encourage us to decompartmentalise our action. By dealing with crises in their regional dimension. By also focusing, beyond crisis management, on prevention, State capacity building and peace building. And also by going beyond a security response: it is indispensable, but we must also address the factors of fragility in their entirety. I am thinking of the impact of climate change, the situation of displaced persons and refugees, in short, humanitarian and health challenges or the lack of inclusiveness of political processes with regard to women and young people. This is the approach that France is promoting at the United Nations and within this Council.
In the context of the health crisis that we are still experiencing, the call for a global ceasefire, which you launched, Mr Secretary-General, on 23 March 2020, followed by the unanimous adoption last July of Resolution 2532, carried jointly by Tunisia and France, were indispensable milestones in the collective response that the international community should provide.
My second point is, as I said, to recall the progress achieved. Under your impetus, Mr Secretary-General, the United Nations system has indeed reformed itself to adapt to these challenges.
Faced with more demanding environments, peacekeeping operations have become, I believe, more efficient, more robust and more agile. The protection of civilians is at the heart of their mandate, as is the promotion of strict respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. To support peacekeeping operations, I believe that more than ever we need mobile, responsive, well-equipped and well-trained contingents, including in terms of language. I am thinking in particular of our action with Francophonie for the French language, which sometimes makes it possible, in French-speaking theatres, to have this good relationship with the populations. This is why France supports the Secretary-General’s reform efforts through the "Action for Peacekeeping" initiative.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the blue helmets who have died in operations and in particular to the 60 soldiers who paid for this commitment with their lives in 2020. I also pay tribute to the resilience shown by peacekeeping operations in the face of the Covid-19 crisis and the commitment of the peacekeepers alongside the host States to support the management of this unprecedented crisis.
Progress has also been made in the development and integration of peacebuilding instruments. The Peacebuilding Commission is playing an increasing support and monitoring role. The Peacebuilding Fund has become a major lever with proven effectiveness. That is why France will quadruple its contribution to the Fund. Peacekeeping operations have also endeavoured to strengthen the integration of civilian and military components. This remains an area of effort to be pursued.
Finally, and this will be my third point, our responsibility is to know how to make our intervention frameworks evolve.
Crisis management must take account of their regional dimension. To deal with them, we must always make better use of partnerships, in particular with the African Union. In this regard, I recall France’s support for the sustainable and predictable financing of African peace operations, including through UN assessed contributions. Support for ad hoc operations must also progress. In this regard, the G5 Sahel Joint Force is an example to be promoted. Our objective is for it to become fully autonomous. To achieve this, it still needs the most ambitious support possible, to which the Security Council must contribute.
Moreover, a lasting peace cannot take shape without being deeply rooted in sustainable development, in anticipation of the risks associated with climate change. The climate dimension and the implementation of the 2030 agenda must be systematically taken into account. You know how much President Emmanuel Macron is committed to this. We are just a few days away from a One Planet Summit and this is the approach that we are pursuing with our partners within the framework of the Coalition for the Sahel, the fourth pillar of which is the Sahel Alliance. In this context, France supports the recommendation to entrust the United Nations with a mission to analyse and provide early warning of the impacts of climate change on international security, through a biennial report by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly and the Security Council.
Finally, the management of transitions surely requires greater flexibility, to avoid an abrupt withdrawal of the international presence when, for example, a peacekeeping operation is closed. This Council can contribute to this by creating, for example, a special political mission to accompany the authorities after the departure of the blue helmets, as is the case in Sudan. The monitoring role of the Peacebuilding Commission is also very useful in maintaining the attention of the international community and providing a regional response to the resolution of the crisis. In this context, it is important that international donors can mobilise to bridge the gap and that the country teams, under the authority of the Resident Coordinator, are able to lead this transition.
You have invited us to engage in reflection in a field where there are many challenges for the international community. The tools to meet them are in our hands. At a time when the Security Council is celebrating its 75th anniversary, you can count on France to play its full part, resolutely, as always.
I thank you./.