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12 February 2010 - Security Council - Peacekeeping Operations: transition and exit strategies - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

I wish to thank all the participants in today’s debate. My thanks go, of course, to those who have travelled a great distance — in particular, the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, who came to share their experience with us. My thanks go, too, to those without whom the various phases of peacekeeping operations would not be possible: the contributors of the troops and police who carry out activities on the ground; the Peacebuilding Commission, which is called upon to play an increasingly important role; the international organizations that contribute directly to the implementation of mandates; and, of course and perhaps above all, the men and women who serve, often in difficult conditions, in all United Nations operations.

Why have we organized this debate? Our fundamental aim, which is quite evident, is to make operations successful. Today, we are, however, confronted by two contradictory trends. First of all, the operations that have been established in recent years have relied entirely on a Secretariat whose resources we know to be modest, not to say limited. In addition, in recent months prospects have emerged for reductions in several operations. We should therefore be prepared to succeed in such transitions.

We must succeed, because we are talking about the condition for lasting peace on the ground following the departure of our forces. And we must succeed in a complex, progressive transition towards a situation in which the host country fully carries out all the functions normally performed by a sovereign State, without a foreign presence on its territory. Several operations have already served as the stage for overall successful transitions, including Cambodia and Sierra Leone, to which Mr. Von der Schulenburg has referred. In the concept paper that we distributed prior to this meeting (see S/2010/67), we identified the factors that seem to us to explain the difficulties we sometimes encounter in trying to carry out successful transitions. In that regard, we think that there are numerous elements that are crucial for success, and we should consider them.

First — and I am far from being the first to mention it — there is the issue of the quality of mandates. How can we ascertain if United Nations efforts have achieved their goals and must now gradually be brought to an end while benefiting the host country, if the desired objectives and end state are not clear? It goes back to a mandate that is clear and concise. It was Ms. Löj who referred to the real “Christmas tree” that our resolutions often are. I recall the resolution on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 41 missions.

It is then up to the Secretariat, on the basis of its mandates, to carry out careful planning and to report in a way that makes it possible to clearly understand where a mission stands with regard to the completion of its mandate.

It is very important to maintain an ongoing exchange between missions and the Council. Clearly, the availability of resources is a crucial element. We all know that resources are limited in several key areas — including in security sector reform, which is undoubtedly essential in a transition. Anything that can contribute to increasing resources is to be welcomed.

Lastly, many times the Secretariat rightly reminds us of the need to strengthen peace processes. On the basis of those common-sense considerations, the Council has arrived at an agreement on a draft presidential statement that sets out our desire to improve our efforts in the area of transition by, as we say in French, getting our own house in order. In particular, we will endeavour to better define the expected outcome in our mandates, set out tasks hierarchically and strengthen dialogue between the Council and the Secretariat by improving the reciprocal provision of information and better utilizing such tools as strategic frameworks and plans that make it possible to measure progress in carrying out a mission. As a consequence, the Secretariat will be able to plan for the various stages of a mission and develop timetables. In order to better take post-conflict reconstruction into account at earlier stages of a mandate, the Council will, among other things, turn to the Peacebuilding Commission. Lastly, the Council will make every effort to support peace processes.

With those commitments we are not going to change either the essentially political character of the situations brought before the Council, or the long period of time required for peace and reconciliation processes. But we do hope to contribute to a process that is more thought-out and more responsible, both in the Council itself and in our dialogue with the Secretariat.

I believe that the decisions that we are prepared to take are both simple and make good sense. We have agreed to carry out an assessment of these efforts at the end of 2010. As members of the Council are aware, my country is committed to maintaining the reform momentum and to tirelessly work to strengthen the valuable partnership that links us to the Secretariat and the main peacekeeping stakeholders.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU