21January 2013 - Security Council - Peacekeeping Operations - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for your initiative in
organizing this debate on one of the pillars of the United
Nations work, namely, peacekeeping. I would also like
to thank the Secretary-General for his statement.
Peacekeeping operations have evolved in recent
years. Their level of deployment is unprecedented
today, with 14 operations currently under way, and
the mandates are increasingly broad and complex.
That complexity and diversity of missions make
necessary greater cooperation with States and regional
organizations and stronger synergies between those
involved in peacekeeping and those involved in

I would recall France’s profound commitment to
strengthening United Nations peacekeeping capacities.
France is taking part in 7 of the 14 peacekeeping
operations and contributes to operations mandated
by the Security Council that are managed and led
by the European Union or NATO, or in a national
capacity. Lastly, it actively supports the participation
of African States in peacekeeping operations through a
regional network of national vocational schools, which
provide technical and operational know-how adapted
to the needs of officers of African armies. It is also
participating, along with its European partners, in the
EURO RECAMP programme.

Since the French-British initiative in 2009
on operations follow-up, we have advocated the
strengthening of military expertise, improving
the Council’s cooperation with troop- and
police-contributing countries and better management
of the costs of peacekeeping operations.
While a number of recommendations from the
Brahimi report (S/2000/809), which was published more
than 10 years ago, are still valid, I would like to turn
to three pivotal elements in improving peacekeeping
operations: the implementation of strategies for
transition between peacekeeping and peacebuilding,
the protection of civilians, and multilingualism.

First, obviously, we must draw up crisis exit
strategies that ensure a lasting return to peace.
Peacekeeping operations are not meant to last forever
We must draw operational conclusions from the lack
of barriers between peacekeeping and peacebuilding so
that each stage of the United Nations presence prepares
for the subsequent stage, in order to anticipate and
forecast exit strategies. It is therefore essential that,
under the leadership of the Special Representatives
of the Secretary-General, peacekeeping operations be
coordinated and that they cooperate closely with the
offices of United Nations country teams so as to find
any possible synergies and to avoid duplication of effort.
We are counting on the Peacebuilding Commission
to provide greater consistency in the activities of the
international community in the exit stages of a conf lict.
We must take into account new threats, such as drug
trafficking, human trafficking, organized crime and
corruption, which have the potential to destabilize
fragile countries.

Secondly, the protection of civilians is one of the
main objectives of the mandates of United Nations
peacekeeping operations. All the recent Security Council
mandates contain a protection-of-civilians component,
which is the priority in all circumstances. Peacekeepers
must therefore be trained and their behaviour on the
ground must be irreproachable. Peacekeepers must
also provide a safe environment that supports the
resumption of the political process. That requires the
implementation of disarmament, demobilization and
reintegration programmes, including for children
affected by the conf lict, and of programmes for security
sector reform and the consolidation of the rule of law.
Women are one of the principal pivots in the
transformation of a society. It is therefore vital to
enhance their participation in decision-making. The
integration of women into the police and the army will
make it possible to enhance the fight against sexual
violence and to promote human rights within those
I also recall the Secretariat policy to exclude
non-essential contact with individuals who are the
subject of an arrest warrant for war crimes, crimes
against humanity or genocide.

The third factor is multilingualism. Just over a year
ago, in a similar debate, I underscored this issue and
called upon the Secretariat to reform its approach to
the problem. A year later, I note that nothing has been

It is necessary — I am not just defending the French
language — for United Nations missions to be able to
communicate with the populations in the countries
where they are. That seems to be a matter of common
sense. However, I see that in reality, the Secretariat’s
recruitment policy takes into account not the need for
peacekeeping forces to be able to communicate with the
populations, but rather their ability to send reports in
English to New York. I am aware that sending a report
in English to New York is important, but it seems that
it should be more important to be able to speak French
with French-speaking populations, who did not have
the good fortune to have been colonized by the British
and therefore do not speak English. That is what I said
18 months ago and that is what I said three years ago,
and the Secretariat has changed nothing.
It is not surprising that recruitment committees,
which are made up of English-speakers, do not assign
priority to a knowledge of French. I can provide an
interesting example of a young woman, who was not
French but was a francophone, who was a candidate for
all peacekeeping operations. Members may well guess
where she was sent. She was sent to Abyei, where, of
course, she must use her French every day. I am just
making that side comment — which is perhaps not the
norm in these surroundings — knowing well that it
will have no effect on the behaviour of the Secretariat,
which will calmly continue to send English speakers
to French-speaking regions. I find that regrettable, but
from time to time we must recognize the limits of the
powers of a permanent representative.

In conclusion, we would like to recall that the
success of any peacekeeping mission is the result of
joint efforts by members of the Council, countries that
contribute financially, troop- and police-contributing
countries and the Secretariat. However, those efforts
will amount to nothing without a solid commitment by
the host country.

Before I conclude, my country would like to
commend the commitment of Blue Helmets of all
nationalities, whose dedication in the service of peace
has cost some of them their lives — as you have
recalled, Mr. President. I am thinking in particular of
the seven Blue Helmets of the United Nations Operation
in Côte d’Ivoire, the five Blue Helmets of the African
Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur and
the four pilots of the United Nations Mission in South
Sudan who have died over the past six months. France
pays tribute to them — in French.

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Dernière modification : 26/02/2015

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