Thank you for organizing a General Assembly debate on peacekeeping. It is essential that all Member States be able to participate in the reflection on this activity which symbolizes the United Nation’s action.
1/ We share your desire to improve the functioning of the PKOs. That’s why we launched an initiative with the British mission under our presidency of the Security Council in January 2009. Our objective was to improve political and military oversight of the PKOs by the Security Council, ensure more effective management of the administrative, logistic and financial aspects of the operations and to fine tune the doctrine on the complex issues associated with peacekeeping such as civilian protection and peace building. Progress has been made with respect to all of these aspects thanks to the input provided by everyone, not just within the framework of the Security Council, but thanks to the New Horizon report formulated by the Secretariat, the presidential statements by the Security Council adopted on August 5, 2009, and February 10, 2010, and also the work of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. In addition, we welcome the fact that the green light has been given to the global support strategy; France will make sure that it provides the necessary improvements in order to support the missions.
We will continue our work to ensure in particular the strengthening of the chain of command of the PKOs, to improve cooperation with the contributors of troop and police officers, and also to ensure greater financial oversight of the peacekeeping operations. The budget for peacekeeping operations has increased exponentially over the last few years; it is essential to reflect on ways to responsibly manage this budget. The results achieved at the most recent session of the Fifth Commission on the Financing of Peacekeeping Operations demonstrate that this concern is now being taken more effectively into consideration. We have no doubt that the Secretariat will increase its efforts to this end.
2/ Changes with respect to the monitoring of the PKOs are necessary in order in particular to more effectively take into account the political dimension of the peacekeeping operations, which is the purpose of this panel’s discussions. This political dimension is multifaceted: it relates both to the political support lent to the mission and to the impact of the mission’s presence on the political process in progress in the recipient country.
— Effective oversight by the headquarters of a peacekeeping operation and decisions made in line with the realities on the ground and the political priorities outlined in New York ensure the political commitment of the Member States throughout that operation. In order to maintain consensus regarding its action and the provision of the necessary resources, there should be continuous exchanges of information between the headquarters and the mission, as well as with the contributors of troops and police officers. The Secretariat and the members of the United Nations should be able, at all times, to get a swift and clear overview of the action of all peacekeeping forces deployed throughout the world. Support for a PKO that does not have close links with the headquarters is bound to crumble away.
— The presence and action of a PKO naturally has repercussions on the political process in progress in a given country. There is no general rule that applies to all situations with respect to how a PKO should support a political process, contribute to strengthening the rule of law, or deal parties that jeopardize the political process ("the spoilers"). These issues require individual responses which must be determined through continuous dialogue between the mission and the UN Headquarters. Since a PKO cannot function in isolation from its environment, it is vital to develop the civilian missions of the PKOs as early as possible in order to develop tools capable of tracking political developments in the country.
Lastly, the political support of the regional organizations, and often of the countries neighboring those that are hosting the PKO, should also be sought. When the roots of conflict make a mockery of political borders, this regional dialogue is one of the keys to reconciliation, resettlement of the populations and the DDR process; these form an integral part of post-conflict stabilization.
I am happy that this topic is now being addressed in a forum as large as the General Assembly since all of us can work towards the modernization and improved effectiveness of the PKOs.