Madam President, I would like to thank you for convening today’s debate, and to welcome all the ministers and other representatives who spoke before me. I would also like to welcome the new Permanent Representative of the United States, even if my time here at the United Nations has been brief. Finally, I note that France aligns itself fully with the statement to be delivered by the observer of the European Union.
As I was said, I would like to thank you, Madam, for convening this debate since it allows us to consider a key issue of great importance to France — the contribution of regional and subregional organizations to the maintanence of international peace and security and the pomotion of the rule of law.
The severity and number of conflicts in the world require us to resort to all the means at our disposal. In this context, the contribution of regional organizations to maintaining international peace and security is crucial. That contribution is provided for under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations and responds to several objectives. It allows regional organizations working under the auspices of the United Nations to enjoy strong political legitimacy. In return, it allows the United Nations to draw on the know-how and operational methods of regional organizations. We have seen a fine example of this in Mali, where cooperation between the United Nations and the relevant regional organizations — the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States — have made it possible for the country to emerge from the recent crisis.
Like some speakers before me, I wish briefly to mention the European Union. The European Union plays a major role within the international community. I recall that peace and security are at the heart of the European project, which arose in the wake of the Second World War, like the United Nations. Among regional organizations, the European Union stands out because of its advanced level of cooperation with the United Nations and other regional organizations. Its operational capacities give it the ability to support diverse activities and to develop institutional mechanisms for funding and participating in peacekeeping missions authorized by the Security Council, and to contribute to crisis prevention and post-conflict stabilizaton. Today, this cooperation extends to all continents.
In order to faciliate peace in Africa, since 2004 the European Union has allocated €740 million in a variety of modalities. It responds to urgent needs through its rapid-response mechanism, and to longer-term needs through peace-support operations that allow for predictable financing. The mechanism has also enabled the European Union to finance the African Union Military Observer Mission in Somalia since 2007, a good example of cooperation among the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations. The European Union has also contributed significant support to the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali, on the same basis. It also supports strengthening the capacities of the African Union and subregional African organizations.
Similarly, the European Union is coordinating its intervention in Libya with the United Nations through its European Union Border Assistance Mission for border surveillance, just as it works actively with the United Nations in Kosovo. Concerning Georgia, for instance, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations have participated jointly in the discussions in Geneva, and the European Union is financing the confidence-building measures between Abkhazians and Georgians that are being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme. Lastly, one of the chief goals that the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States set themselves at their summit in Santiago in February was to contribute actively and jointly to international peace and security.
The role of regional organizations is only going to grow, in response both to the principle of subsidiarity and to the mentality that encourages regional stakeholders to assume responsibility and ownership. France is contributing to that effort through organizations of which it is a member, as well as through its support for the establishment of a regional security architecture. While we should continue our support for that cooperative trend, we must continue to be wary of the danger of a fragmentation of collective security. The Security Council, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, is still the body with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, acting on behalf of the Members of the United Nations as a whole to that end.
Dialogue between the United Nations and other organizations often raises complex questions resulting from a shortage of resources in the area of troops, for example, but also in equipment, military expertise, civilian know-how and funding; the implementation of predictable and reliable financing; and the issue of the degree of control that the Council can exercise over the operations it authorizes. That should not, however, be seen as an obstacle. On the contrary, it illustrates the vitality of the relations between the United Nations and such organizations. Responding to those issues quickly and effectively is a challenge we should all address.
In conclusion, I would like to touch on one last topic, which is dealt with in the presidential statement adopted today (S/PRST/2013/12), namely, that your country, Madam President, has decided to highlight the fight against impunity and the historic importance in that regard of the International Criminal Court, the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, and the role that regional organizations play in that area, for which we are grateful. That is another demonstration of your country’s unwavering commitment to such matters, within the Security Council in particular and the United Nations in general. France knows something about that topic, since our two countries, together with Morocco, promoted within the Organization the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Here we are again, in the Security Council, some of the founding countries of the International Criminal Court, of which your compatriot, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo, was the first Prosecutor. The reference to the International Criminal Court and the fight against impunity in a text on United Nations cooperation with regional organizations is therefore a welcome precedent, for which we are in your debt.
It is also a useful reminder that the principles of justice and the defence of human rights are founding principles for many regional organizations. The European Union and the Organization of American States were built on the rejection of conflict and around the goal of ensuring peace and security, and they have developed basic mechanisms for promoting the rule of law and defending human rights. The principles of the Charter of the African Union enshrine the rejection of impunity and the Union’s right to intervene in a country where serious crimes, genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity have been committed. It is high time to recognize the importance of such subjects in the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations. Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations for peace and security is therefore a matter of political and operational necessity and must continue, in line with the relevant stipulations and provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and under the auspices of the Security Council. It is in that way that we will simultaneously ensure consistency in international action, transparency in United Nations activities and respect for the Organization’s values.
Learn more about the role of regional organizations in peacekeeping and security.