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22 July 2009 - Security Council: peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict - Statement by Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(translation of statement made in French)

At the outset, my delegation wishes to thank you, Mr. President, for having organized this meeting on an important subject, one close to us all. We welcome your presence here with us, and we also welcome the presence of the Secretary-General.

Permit me to make a few remarks. I wish first to thank the Secretariat, and the Secretary-General for his report (S/2009/304), which certainly provides the most in-depth thinking to date on the matter of post-conflict peacebuilding. That is a major area of work for the United Nations, with great potential, comparable to that of the tool that we have used so far, namely, peacekeeping.

However, we are only at the very beginning of this process. The report marks an essential step in thinking about improving the United Nations capacity to respond to the challenges of peacebuilding. Today, we need to pursue our thoughts and our concrete actions.

I would like to focus on two challenges. The first is that we are not yet strategic enough. A greater analytical effort is needed. Before we can begin to check the cycle of violence and conflict, we must be able to analyze the causes and factors. That approach is also true for conflict prevention.

Then we need to identify priorities. After emerging from a conflict, that is not simply a rule for action; it is the only way to move forward. On that point we welcome the recommendations in the report to make the assessments carried out by the Secretariat teams more political and to follow a logical sequence in order to be available more quickly. I wish to stress that it is only by working on a limited number of priorities that we will be effective; I think that is a comment everyone shares.

Finally, we need to be consistently opportunistic, in the good sense of the word; we must be rapid, agile and flexible. It is at the deployment of an operation, or even before, that we must begin to sketch out a peacebuilding strategy. The recommendations set out in the report to allow the deployment of civilian personnel and competent specialized teams along with the special representatives on the ground make good sense, and we hope they can be carried out.

The second challenge, as we see it, is that we are not yet fully mobilized. There is progress to be made in this area.

The United Nations has a central role to play in peacebuilding, because it alone has all of the instruments — political, military, humanitarian and development — on which we can base an effective strategy. But the United Nations is still quite fragmented in its interventions. Here also, the Secretary-General’s recommendations are aimed at improving consistency in our response to these challenges, and we welcome this. We have some clear examples already, in Sierra Leone or the Central African Republic.

Setting up financial mechanisms adapted to the challenges of peacebuilding is even more necessary now, because the actions required surpass the capacity of a small number of actors. The Peacebuilding Fund by itself cannot fully play its role if mobilization by the international community is not assured. There is a role that the Peacebuilding Commission has already begun to play for the four countries on its agenda. It has broadened its donor base and is reaching out to non-traditional donors, even the private sector.

In conclusion, I would like to underscore that a rapid intervention by the international community during the immediate post-conflict phase draws on the same care for effectiveness that has led France, with the United Kingdom, to propose discussion in the Security Council on follow-up to and improvement of peacekeeping. The same principles apply: the need for better follow-up, and use of indicators and milestones.

We hope that peacebuilding will now be clearly understood as a dimension of peacekeeping, and not simply as the next stage. The requirement for effectiveness is the condition for a lasting commitment by the international community to help countries emerging from crisis.

To conclude, I will say that France fully supports the draft presidential statement submitted to us.

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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