I would like to thank the Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Eliasson; the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), Ambassador Patriota; and the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ms. Clark, for their briefings.
Two years after the publication of the Secretary-General’s report on the issue of peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict (S/2012/746), I think it is very useful for the Council to once again express its views on a subject that is at the heart of the work of the Organization. I would like to thank the Luxembourg presidency of the Council for convening this discussion.
I would like to recall some principles that France considers essential with regard to peacebuilding.
First, peacebuilding implies the establishment of inclusive processes, in particular of a national dialogue — of course, one that is inclusive in the sense mentioned by the Ambassador of Jordan in his statement today. In other words, it is not just a sharing of power and infrastructure; it is effectively finding a narrative that can lead to reconciliation. It was precisely to relaunch the national dialogue that had been obstructed and a conflict narrative that was going in contradictory directions that the Council visited Mali in early February to try to put the stabilization process back on a better basis.
Working to build peace after a conflict must also include all segments of society. We support the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s report designed to ensure the active participation of women in peacebuilding processes. We often say that and do little, and therefore we need to make progress in that area. In that respect, the appointment of the interim Head of the Transitional Government in the Central African Republic, Ms. Samba-Panza, and the important place given to women in her Government has, we feel, been a good example of that. Over and above the participation of women, we must ensure the participation of all sectors of society in the transition process.
Another principle for establishing the bases for a lasting peace is the need to work on justice. Justice remains the key to all post-conflict stabilization. Through its practical experience in a number of countries, the Council has identified several key areas for intervention when it comes to justice — support for the criminal justice system, independent justice, the establishment of a prison system, security sector reform and support for the international criminal justice system.
National Governments bear the primary responsibility for bringing to justice and punishing those responsible for atrocities, including those committed in post-conflict situations. But when States fail in their responsibilities, the International Criminal Court must play its part. Cases from a number of countries in which we are involved in peacebuilding — the Central African Republic, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — have already been referred to the Court.
Finally, it is essential to begin long-term work to rebuild institutions that inspire public confidence. Again in reference to the Central African Republic, up until today, thanks to the action of the African force supported by the French Operation Sangaris, large-scale massacres have been avoided. However, we face a situation of insecurity borne of the collapse of the State. It is therefore essential, parallel to security measures, to act immediately to restore the State’s authority and constructive relations with the society as a whole. For that, certain basic actions need to be carried out, such as ensuring that civil servants are paid, which would get the police and gendarmerie forces back to work, as well as the courts and detention centres.
We cannot simply separate the opposing armies. We also must arrest and bring to justice those who order or incite violence. We must also bear in mind the goal of holding elections no later than February 2015.
To re-establish the Central African Republic State, those projects need resources. With regard to those priority areas, the United Nations — today through the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic and as soon as possible, we hope, through a peacekeeping operation — will have an essential role to play. The international community, however, must strengthen its mobilization in order to provide the means necessary. As emphasized by Ms. Clark, UNDP has a critical role to play in that regard. It has the ability to develop policies and to mobilize, as we saw in the Central African Republic, where the UNDP has shown its effectiveness and its ability to react in recent crises by setting up a multi-donor fund.
In the face of the challenge of peacebuilding, the United Nations offers an opportunity to act in a coordinated fashion. For our part, we would like to stress the need to proceed in stages and to think carefully about the various phases of transition. Peacekeeping operations themselves have now become multidimensional, and from their deployment try to respond to varying challenges in countries where State structures have practically disappeared.
It is important that peacekeeping operations pave the way for peacebuilding. We must explain, however, that those operations cannot in one year or in a few months accomplish a whole multitude of tasks. Previous speakers today have referred to the difficulties that we have encountered in South Sudan.
Moreover, there must be close cooperation between UNDP and the special political missions or the civilian component of peacekeeping operations, so as to avoid duplication. Exit strategies must be prepared, which should guide the action of missions on a daily basis. In those complex peacebuilding processes, I would like to stress the particular importance of reinforcing the link between the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, who depend upon the resources provided by the peacekeeping operations or special missions, and the United Nations country teams, directed by the Resident Coordinators.
The country teams are expected to take over, at the appropriate moment, the leading of peacekeeping operations to ensure an effective transition towards development programmes. That is an important challenge, which we can see in countries such as Burundi and Sierra Leone. The international community must remain mobilized in those types of situations because, if we do not, we cannot exclude a relapse into conflict after the when different actors are demobilized.
Lastly, coordination among all actors contributing to peacebuilding is essential. Others before me have mentioned the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, endorsed in Busan at the end of 2011, which reminds us the necessity of coordination. The Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund are entities that can play a very useful role in support of activities on the ground and to ensure the necessary synergies with the missions in place. In that regard, I welcome the establishment of justice/police oversight mechanisms in Liberia that are financed by the Peacebuilding Fund and supported by the United Nations Mission in Liberia. In our opinion, those are very interesting examples of cooperation among different United Nations actors.
We are certain tha the review of the Peacebuilding Commission architecture in 2015 will give us an opportunity to go even further in terms of coordination and the further strengthening of the role of the Peacebuilding Commission, an institution in which we truly believe and which has made a lasting contribution since its establishment to strengthening States in post-conflict situations.
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