20 June 2012 - Security Council - DPKO - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

I thank you,
Sir, for your initiative to convene today’s important
debate on peacekeeping, a pillar of the work of the United
Nations. I also thank the Under-Secretary-General for
Peacekeeping Operations and the Force Commanders
for giving us a direct insight into their work on the

In recent years, peacekeeping operations
have changed greatly. Their deployment level is
unprecedented, and mandates are broad. Sixteen
operations are currently under way; some, such as the
United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan
and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti,
are multidimensional.

I would like first to reiterate the deep and
long-standing commitment of France to enhancing
United Nations peacekeeping capacities. My country
participates in nine of the 16 peacekeeping operations
and contributes to peacekeeping operations under
United Nations auspices through the European Union,
NATO or in its national capacity. France is present in
numerous foreign theatres, including Somalia, Kosovo,
Afghanistan and Côte d’Ivoire. It actively supports
the participation of African States in peacekeeping
operations through the African Capacity-Building for
Peace Operations programme. It has created national
schools with a regional outlook in order to provide
technical and operational know-how adapted to the
needs of African armies.

Since the Franco-British initiative of 2009 on
operational follow-up, we have continued to advocate
for enhanced military expertise, improved cooperation
of the Council with troop- and police-contributing
countries, and better budgeting for peacekeeping
operations. While many recommendations from the Brahimi report (S/2000/809), published over 10 years
ago, remain valid, I should like to highlight three vital
elements: inter-mission cooperation, the protection of
civilians and establishing strategies for transitioning
between peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
First, inter-mission cooperation allows the
optimization of the use of resources devoted to
peacekeeping operations by facilitating the sharing
of resources, equipment or units belonging to
neighbouring missions. When unforeseen events
threaten the stability of a country, inter-mission
cooperation between missions is an adaptive, effective
response that can swiftly strengthen missions in need
in terms of manpower and equipment. That cooperation
has proven its worth in West Africa, where cooperation
between the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire
and the United Nations Mission in Liberia was vital
in pooling the use of helicopters in the context of the
crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. It has also been useful in East
Africa, where helicopters from the United Nations
Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo were temporarily deployed to
South Sudan.

Inter-mission cooperation allows economies
of scale to be achieved in response to the need for
good management and budgetary constraints, which
are more present than ever. It must be encouraged
and even rendered systematic both to pool
capacities — particularly of scarce air assets, such
as helicopters, and of logistical support structures,
which allows substantial rationalization of mission
support — and to share situation analysis and
assessment, particularly when missions find themselves
on either side of a border. In those three areas, there is
still much room for improvement. Cooperation must be
facilitated while respecting mandates assigned by the
Security Council to each mission and ensuring good
coordination with the troop-contributing countries.

Secondly, civilian protection must remain one of
the main goals of peacekeeping operation mandates.
Peacekeepers must be trained to that end and conduct
themselves impeccably on the ground. Moreover,
it is vital for the chain of command of operations
to be respected. Peacekeepers must establish a
safe environment conducive to the resumption of
political process, which requires the implementation
of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration
programmes, including for children affected by conflict, security sector reform programmes, and programmes
that strengthen the rule of law.

As my colleague from the United States said, women
are one of the main levers for reforming a society. It is
vital to enhance their participation in decision-making.
The integration of women into the police force and
the army helps us to better combat sexual and sexist
violence and to promote human rights within those
institutions. Advisers for the protection of women and
children must play an increasingly significant role in

Thirdly, we need to create crisis exit strategies
that guarantee a lasting return to peace. We need to
draw operational conclusions from the absence of
division between peacekeeping and peacebuilding
so that each stage of a United Nations mission can
better prepare for the following stage in order to better
anticipate and foresee exit strategies. In that respect,
it is crucial for peacekeeping operations to cooperate
closely with United Nations country team agencies
so that peacekeeping and peacebuilding functions are
properly distributed and duplication is avoided. We
look to the Peacebuilding Commission to provide better
coherence to the action of the international community
in post-conflict phases. There is a need also to take into
account as soon as possible cross-cutting threats such
as the traffic in drugs and human beings, organized
crime and corruption, which have strong destabilizing
potential in fragile countries.

Allow me here to touch on the issue of
multilingualism, as raised by my Moroccan colleague.
When I refer to multilingualism, I am not talking about
the status of languages in the United Nations but to the
basic need for United Nations missions to be able to
communicate with the peoples of the countries where
they are deployed. I believe that the Secretariat’s efforts
in that respect are greatly lacking. The French-speaking
capacity of many missions in francophone countries
is very limited, owing in particular to recruitment
During the three years that I have been in the
Organization, I have been trying to make the point
that it is more important for staff to be able to speak
French in a francophone country than to be able to write
a report in English for transmittal to New York. Too
often we recruit staff on the basis of their ability to
write a report for New York, while completely ignoring
the issue of whether they will be able to converse in French in a francophone country. I could give you many
such examples, including for staff who are at a very
average level. I think that this leads to inefficiency.
Once again, I am not speaking of the status of French
within the Organization, but of the effectiveness of
our resources. Every time I have visited missions in
francophone countries, I have found that most mission
staff, especially at a higher level, did not speak French.
I find this deeply regrettable, and I wish to stress once
again to the Secretariat the need to put an end to this
practice and for recruitment boards on the ground
to give priority to French over English, especially in
French-speaking areas.

I know that what I said was a waste of breath and
that the Secretariat will do nothing, but sometimes it is
good to say what we think.

We would like to reiterate that the success of a
peacekeeping mission is the result of joint efforts by
the States members of the Council, the countries that
contribute financially, the TCCs and PCCs, and the
Secretariat. However, such efforts will be futile in the
absence of a strong commitment on the part of the host
country. Here I wish to stress the need for cooperation
with the host country, which needs to work both ways:
we must, of course, cooperate with the host country, but
that country must also respond to our appeals and offer
its own perspective on the problem.

I will conclude by paying high tribute to the
commitment of peacekeepers of all nationalities — which
sometimes costs them their lives, as in the case of the
seven Nigerian Blue Helmets — to the cause of peace.

Dernière modification : 26/02/2015

top of the page