23 November 2011 - Security Council
New challenges to international peace and security and conflict prevention - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
In following my Gabonese colleague, I will extend this French-speaking oasis. That is not to say, however, that everything else is desert. First of all, I should like to thank all those who have spoken for their briefings, and I welcome the initiative of the Portuguese presidency.
Since the February 2010 debate on cross-cutting threats (see S/PV.6277), which my country proposed, some progress has been made in addressing those issues in the Council. I am thinking in particular of resolution 1983 (2011) on security and AIDS, on the debate organized by Gabon on drug trafficking and organized transnational crime (see S/PV.6565), and on the debate organized by Germany on climate change (see S/PV.6587). Those advances are a sign of the Council’s interest in these issues. It is indeed our responsibility to anticipate the consequences of those new threats for international peace and security.
I thank the director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for his briefing. By undermining States’ capacities for governance and economic development, illicit trafficking and organized crime weaken State structures and destabilize entire regions. The Council has witnessed this for itself with respect to Haiti, Afghanistan and Guinea-Bissau. Particular attention should already be focused on the Sahel region in view of the worsening security situation in that area, which has been infected by multiple forms of trafficking. It is time for us to develop a Sahelian strategy.
The regional programmes of the UNODC effectively contribute to the comprehensive, joint and integrated approach that the Council hopes will prevent conflicts, as the statements made earlier by my colleagues indicate. France, for its part, is actively promoting such a strategy. The Group of Eight meetings on cocaine and the Paris Pact of early 2012 fall within the framework outlined by the Council through a series of decisions. Further, my country calls for the universalization of the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and of other instruments to combat drugs and psychotropic substances.
I also wish to thank the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). The fight against natural and accidental risks and against threats requires common action to strengthen all stages of monitoring and alert systems, rapid response preparation and health crisis management. Over the course of the past decade, we have made outstanding progress in preparing for and preventing the risk of pandemics.
Eleven years ago, resolution 1308 (2000) recognized that the AIDS pandemic was a threat to international peace and security. Last June, we noted the degree to which AIDS constitutes a handicap to stabilization in post-conflict situations, above all because the pandemic affects women first and foremost in their fundamental role in the reconstruction phase. The Council has also called for concerted effort against the spread of AIDS during conflict due to the rise in sexual violence as a weapon of war.
The WHO remains the lead manager for health security in crisis situations, above all in times of conflict or in their aftermath. The WHO should also pursue its monitoring of the risk of epidemics and pandemics by relying on the network of contact points it has established, and it should oversee the revised International Health Regulations, which have been legally binding on all Member States since they entered into force in 2007. The Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework approved last May by the World Health Assembly could be used to advantage for other kinds of epidemics.
Finally, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reminded us today, the displacement of populations is the result of complex causes and should claim a greater share of the Council’s attention. The situation of refugees and displaced persons as a result of conflicts can serve as a deterrent to the re-establishment of stability. Climate change, which is one of many factors that influence the decision to migrate, should be taken into greater account in conflict prevention.
In a more general sense, as July’s debate reminded us, the threat of climate change concerns us all. It affects small island States, food security, water resources and the viability of coastal regions. My country wishes and hopes that the Durban Conference will give an operational content to the agreements negotiated at Cancún, so that the international community can prove that it is capable of combating threats while there is still time.
France hopes that the Council will remain invested in these issues, which place international peace and security in mortal peril and have consequences on our work. France believes that the Council should discuss these questions in a regular and systematic fashion.