The current crises require concerted action by the United Nations and regional organizations - 18 August 2015 [fr]
Regional organizations and global security - Statement by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Representative of France to the United Nations, Chargé d’affaires a.i. - Security Council - 18 August 2015
I thank you, Madam President, for having organized today’s useful debate on the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations. I also want to thank the Secretary-General for his briefing. The complexity of current crises requires increasingly concerted action by the United Nations and regional organizations, within the framework provided by the Charter of the United Nations, in particular Chapter VIII. In that regard, I should like to make three observations.
First, regional organizations play an essential and growing role in crisis management. Their precise local knowledge and the networks they develop are an asset in understanding conflicts. Their geographic proximity allows faster deployment. And the special relationship they have with crisis States can contribute to the consolidation of fragile situations.
France encourages the already considerable involvement of regional organizations in preventing conflicts, as well as in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Today, African organizations whose efforts are intended to be integrated into the African Peace and Security Architecture are taking on more and more responsibility. They are deploying more operations to respond to crises. Besides their military involvement, their political role in mediation and support has also increased. That is of course an important development.
My second observation is that this mobilization by regional organizations is even more effective if undertaken with the various stakeholders, such as other regional organizations, States, civil society and, first and foremost, the United Nations. Two examples serve to underscore this: the strengthening of ties between the African Union and the United Nations, and the increased cooperation between African organizations and the European Union. France welcomes the strengthening of links between the African Union and the United Nations through the establishment of a United Nations Office to the African Union, in 2010, the establishment of liaison offices in New York and Addis Ababa, and the institutionalization of annual exchanges between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.
Regional organizations are also called upon to work together and support each other. As the Ambassador of Chad mentioned earlier, the European Union finances a number of peacekeeping operations — such as the African Union Mission in Somalia — as well as various elements of the African Union Peace and Security Architecture, including the African Standby Force and the Continental Early-Warning System. To date, the commitment of the European Union to contribute up to €450 million to support the implementation of African Peace Facility for Africa for the period 2014 to 2016 has almost been fully realized.
Beyond the financial support provided, the European Union also provides civilian and military assistance — in Libya, the Niger, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Mali. The commitment in Mali, for instance, shows the extent of the European Union’s efforts, namely, as part of the European Union Capacity Building Mission for the Sahel and Mali, as well as its military mission. In that way, the European Union is helping the Government of Mali to reform and restructure its security forces. In addition, the European Union Mission on Regional Maritime Capacity-building in the Horn of Africa is providing assistance to several countries of the subregion, including surface and maritime border protection in order to combat maritime piracy.
With regard to my third observation, in the context of increasing involvement by regional organizations, France supports the recommendations of the Secretary-General set out in his report of 2 January 2015, as well as those of the High-level Independent Panel on United Nations Peace Operations. With regard to African operations in Mali and the Central African Republic, the Secretary-General has highlighted the complementarity of the United Nations and the African Union. The transition from the African-led International Support Mission in Mali to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, and from the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, serves to illustrate the comparative advantages of the two models of intervention — on the one hand, with regard to the African Union, the rapid deployment of armed forces capable of offensive operations, and, on the other hand, with regard to the United Nations, the establishment of a peacekeeping force equipped for a longer-term operation with a different mandate.
With regard to the strategic review of peacekeeping operations, the examples of Mali and the Central African Republic have confirmed that it is essential for the United Nations to fully invest upstream in the definition of an overal framework for coordinated crisis management, both from the perspective of political and security considerations. That framework must be established in close cooperation with other regional stakeholders, so as to facilitate the implementation of United Nations standards, the training of regional contingents and to allow for better awareness on human rights issues.
Lastly, the sustainability and financial viability of military operations remain a major concern. Today, the African Union is highly dependent upon outside contributions to finance its operations. It would be fitting for African organizations — as they have expressed their intention to do — to consistently take on increased responsibility for the financial burden of their actions. France stands ready to continue its efforts and cooperation with the United Nations and all regional organizations along those lines.