On 15 April 2013, the Security Council met in presence of the Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon for a debate on conflict prevention in Africa: addressing the root causes.
The representative of France recalled that the United Nations had tools to prevent from conflicts but they should also address the root causes to anticipate more. He stressed that the Security Council could rely on the responsibility to protect, which was first the responsibility of the State, but also of the international community.
Following the consultations, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement stressing that tackling the root causes of conflict was crucial to ensure sustainable peace.
On 19 November 2012, the Security Council held a debate on piracy in the presence of United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.
The French Representative reminded that the threat remained, even though the number of attacks had been decreasing since the beginning of the year. This justified the continued presence of naval forcesoff the coast of Somalia, as well as the ongoing efforts of the international community to reinforce judiciary and maritime capacities of the neighboring states.
A statement was adopted by the President of the Security Council, which called upon the States inter alia to criminalize piracy under their domestic law and to systematically prosecute authors of piracy acts.
On 8 November 2012, the Security Council met in closed consultations to hear a presentation by Mr. Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, of the report issued by the Secretary General on 19 October 2012 on illicit cross-border trafficking and flows. This report had been requested in the presidential statement of April 25, 2012.
On 11 July 2012, the Security Council heard Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UNOWA Said Djinnit in public and private consultations. Mr. Djinnit stressed that the situation in Western Africa still faced significant challenges, namely illicit drug trafficking, corruption and transnational organized crime. Mr Djinnit urged the Security Council to produce an integrated strategy for the Sahel region.
The French Representative condemned the unconstitutional changes of power in Guinea-Bissau and the troubles in North-Mali. A constructive dialogue had to be pursued with the African Union to find a way out of the crisis. He commended the peaceful and democratic political transition in Senegal and in Guinea-Conakry.
On 29 June 2012, the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) presented, during a public debate at the Security Council, the UN strategy towards the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The Council adopted a presidential statement in which it reaffirmed its support to this strategy: support to the African Union, protection of civilians, disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement (DDRRR).
The representative of France reiterated in his statement his support to UNOCA. He stressed the necessity of the socio-economic reintegration of child soldiers as well as the cooperation with the International Criminal Court to prosecute Joseph Kony, one of the prominent leaders of the LRA.
On 25 April 2012, the Security Council met to discuss the issue of border security to prevent trafficking and illicit flows, in the presence of the United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
The fight against illegal trafficking, often linked to terrorism, made necessary the strengthening of border controls, an obligation that was incumbent on the States. Regional cooperation allowed overcoming the weakness of certain States’ capacities on the matter. The United Nations agencies and international organizations also brought support to the States in the field of border control.
The French representative stressed that efforts could be made to improve the assistance provided to the States. Recalling the initiatives led by France and the European Union, he suggested that the United Nations estimates their assistance efforts States to make it more coherent and effective.
At the end of the debate, the Security Council adopted a Presidential statement on the issue.
On 29 February 2012, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2039 urging the States of the Gulf of Guinea to work together through the relevant regional organizations, to convene the Summit in order to develop a regional strategy to fight against piracy.
On 27 February 2012, the Security Council met in the presence of Mrs. Florentina Adenike Ukonga, Deputy Executive Secretary for Political Affairs to the Gulf of Guinea Commission, to hear a report by Mr. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, on the issue of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. The States of the region had implemented local initiatives to address the threat of piracy, but facing the mobility and the violence of the cases of piracy recorded, Mr Pascoe called the States of West Africa to develop a common strategy on the issue. Mrs Adenike Ukonga highlighted the shortcomings of the legal framework of each country concerning cases of piracy, calling for a unity of norms in the region as well as the creation of a specialized court on the matter.
In his statement, the French representative noted that it was still time to take preventive action. Citing the many initiatives of France against maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, he recalled that it was the responsibility of the States of the region to define a strategy against piracy.
On 21 February 2012, the President of the Republic of Togo, Mr Faure Gnassingbé, chaired the monthly debate of the Security Council on the impact of transnational organized crime in West Africa and the Sahel region, in the presence of the United Nations Secretary General. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon expressed concerns over the situation in the region, given the intensification of drug trafficking, piracy and organized crime. He called for a closer cooperation of regional states with other Member States, as well as regional and international organizations to ensure a lasting stability in the region. Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC underscored the assistance provided by UNODC in strengthening local institutions in light of the growing impact of transnational organized crime.
In his statement, the French representative, Mr. Edouard Courtial, reiterated France’s will to provide a strong and determined contribution to the states of West Africa and Sahel to strengthen their capacities against transnational organized crime.
On 26 January 2012, Mr. Lynn Pascoe, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, briefed the Security Council on the report from the assessment mission on the impact of the Libyan crisis in the Sahel. Mr. Pascoe underscored that even though the difficulties met by the States of the region were not entirely attributable to the Libyan crisis, it represented however an element of further destabilization. The Sahel region had to face two main challenges: reintegrating the expatriates from Libya, and the proliferation of arms from Libya, terrorism remaining a major concern in the Sahel region.
During his statement, the French representative underscored the severity of the recurring security and humanitarian issues in the region, calling on the States of the Sahel to strengthen their cooperation and to coordinate their efforts with all the stakeholders, among them the international organizations, including the African Union, the European Union and ECOWAS. The United Nations had to support the initiatives of these States by implementing a more integrated and coherent strategy.
On January 16, 2012, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, Said Djinnit, presented to the Security Council the report of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) on the efforts of the sub-regional countries to deal with the transnational threats - terrorism, drug and weapon trafficking, piracy - particularly in the context of the return in the Sahel region from Libya of West Africans or Tuaregs, unemployed, armed or who are hired by AQIM and drug traffickers.
On 14 November 2011, the Security Council heard the report of Mr. Abou Moussa on the early works undertaken by the UN Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).
In his statement, the representative of France stressed the need for UNOCA to focus its activities on regional situations that require cross-cutting responses, such as maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea or the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the Great Lakes region. Similarly, he praised the UNOCA for the quality partnerships it has forged with organizations in the region, particularly the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and encouraged UNOCA to collaborate with the United Nations missions, MONUSCO and MINUSS, and with all UN agencies working on these topics.
Following the meeting, the President of the Security Council made a statement.
On 31 October 2011, the Security Council adopted resolution 2018 condemning piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea. It welcomed the intention of the Heads of State of the Gulf of Guinea to convene a Summit in order to consider a comprehensive response in the region and encouraged the members ECOWAS, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) to counter piracy and armed robbery through the conduct of bilateral or regional maritime patrols. It also called upon States them to cooperate in the prosecution of perpetrators of acts of piracy or armed robbery at sea.
On 19 October 2011, the Security Council met in presence of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, to discuss the issue of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Mr Ban Ki-moon announced the deployment of an assessment mission in the region to evaluate the importance of the threat, as well as the ability of regional States to face it, and make recommendations. Briefing the Council, Florentina Adenike Ukonga, Deputy Executive Secretary for Political Affairs, Gulf of Guinea Commission, called the affected States to cooperate in order to frame a common and consistent defence policy against piracy. Speaking on behalf of the countries of the Gulf of Guinea, the representative of Benin called on the Council to adopt a resolution, which would send a strong support message from the international community to both their individual and collective efforts to deal with piracy.
The permanent representative of France pointed out the similarities between this threat and the one known in Somalia, yet recalling they were not stemming from the same causes. In the Gulf of Guinea, the priority must go to an increased responsibility of the States of the region to ensure the security within the maritime spaces under their jurisdiction.
On 24 June 2011, Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office against Drugs and Crime has presented to the Security Council the major dangers posed by drug trafficking and organized crime for peace and international security. In her statement, Beatrice Lefraper, Legal Advisor to the French Permanent Representation, underlined the consequences of these threats and provided answers to stem the phenomenon.
A high-level meeting of the General Assembly was held on 17 June 2010 on transnational organized crime (pursuant to resolution 64/179 of 18 December 2009). Jean-Marie Bockel, Minister of State for Justice, participated in an informal roundtable discussion on the promotion of universal adherence to the Palermo Convention and its Protocols. Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime, chaired the roundtable.
During the plenary session, Mr. Bockel delivered a statement on behalf of France.
On 24 February 2010, during its presidency of the Security Council, France held a meeting of the Security Council on transnational threats to peace and security. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General and Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime, participated in the debate. It complemented the debate which took place at the Security Council on 8 December 2009, chaired by Burkina Faso, on "drug trafficking, threats to international security."
The meeting of February 24 allowed the Council to alert the international community about the growing impact of transnational threats to peace and security, to call for greater regional and international cooperation under the UN aegis, to give greater support to the effective use of instruments and mechanisms of the United Nations to prevent and control crime, and to support the work of UNODC. A presidential statement (S/PRST/2010/4) was adopted at the end of the meeting.
The permanent representative of France recalled that it was the responsibility of the Security Council to take up the issue of transnational threats whenever the activity of these criminal networks threatened international peace and security. He called for the universalization of the Palermo Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (2000) and its Protocols. He said that that transnational threats should be more taken in account in conflict analyses, prevention strategies, integrated missions and peacekeeping operations.
The Security Council held a special session devoted to drugs for the first time on 8 December 2009. Efforts relating to drug trafficking had until then only targeted the specific cases of Afghanistan, Guinea Bissau, and Haiti. Although the agenda of the debate was listed as “Peace and Security in West Africa,” the debate did not just focus on the African continent; it allowed the Member States to analyze why drug trafficking is a threat to international security at the global level.
At the opening session of the debate, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/ 2009/32) in which “it notes with concern the serious threats posed in some cases by drug trafficking and related transnational organized crime to international security in different regions of the world, including in Africa.”
The Permanent Representative of France stated that France “wanted more attention to be given to the issue of drug trafficking as a factor in conflict analysis, prevention strategies, integrated missions and peacekeeping operations.” He also called for the “universalization and full implementation” of the three conventions on the fight against drug trafficking.
The Security Council has several times noted with concern the consequences of transnational threats, such as organized crime and drug trafficking, on international peace and security.
It repeatedly noted the role played by drug trafficking and organized crime in the emergence of conflicts in places such as Afghanistan (Resolution 1817/2008 and Resolution 1890/2009), Haiti (Resolution 1892/2009) and Guinea Bissau (PRST of 15 October 2008 and 5 November 2009).
It also considered the issue on a more general point of view in Resolution 1373/2001on Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts (the Council “[noted] with concern the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money-laundering, illegal arms-trafficking, and illegal movement of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly material”) and in PRST/2009/32 on Peace and Security in Africa (“the Council notes with concern the serious threats posed in some cases by drug trafficking and related transnational organized crime to international security in different regions of the world, including in Africa”).
A. A threat to security
Transnational threats create roots for the development of regional and global tensions. Drug trafficking and related transnational organized crime encourage money laundering and makes possible the financing of non-governmental armed groups. Organized crime networks threaten effective state control on borders and territories. They undermine the authority of states, spread corruption and weaken economic development. Therefore, they pave the way for radicalisation processes that can lead to violent extremism and terrorism. Insurgents and criminals develop close ties to profit from this instability and in some cases create the conditions for such instability.
As a matter of fact, transnational threats are a destabilizing factor in every crisis where the United Nations operates. They take advantage of the weakness of states in conflict situations and make the return to peace and economic development a more protracted and more difficult process for those states.
B. A growing challenge
The international community adopted several conventions in order to counter transnational threats in a comprehensive approach:
— the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961,
— the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971,
— the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988,
— the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime of 2000,
— the United Nations Convention against Corruption of 2003.
However, in the last decades, advances in technology, open borders and open markets created greater cross-border opportunities for criminal groups. As a result, organized crime has diversified, gone global, and has reached macro-economic proportions. It developed even closer links with drug trafficking, corruption and terrorism. It poses a greater threat to national and global security than when the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was adopted. No part of the world is immune. Particularly vulnerable are post-conflict regions, areas where the rule of law is weak and countries that suffer from under-development.
1. Threats posed by drug trafficking to international security
As reaffirmed by the Permanent Representative of France in his statement to the Security Council on 8 December 2009, the consequences of these threats can be seen on three levels:
— Drug trafficking weakens States since it is accompanied by increased crime (from cartel wars to the development of transnational organized crime), corruption (which weakens the capacity of Governments to take action) and because in some cases it is used to finance armed groups.
— Because of its transnational nature, drug trafficking also contributes to the destabilization of entire regions. The international community has reacted by implementing regional initiatives to combat drug trafficking, such as the Paris Pact of May 2003 devoted to the drug routes from Central Asia to Europe.
— Finally, drug trafficking, owing to its links with illicit international networks, has become a key factor with regard to threats against international security. In its recent report the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed the role that drug trafficking plays in funding, not only the insurgency in Afghanistan, but also extremist groups in a number of countries in Central Asia. The terrorist networks finance their activities partially through drug trafficking, without the drug traffickers themselves necessarily being aware of it. The international community recognized the link between drugs and international security in the political statement adopted at the 52nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (March 2009).
Drug trafficking is a global problem; it is not enough just to look at its economic and social consequences, it must be addressed by the institutions responsible for international peace and security. As underlined by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in its 2008 annual report, the international community must make global measures to tackle the cross-cutting threats of drug-trafficking, organized crime, corruption and terrorism a key priority.
2. United Nations machinery
a) The fight against drug trafficking is the subject of one of the most long-standing examples of international cooperation.
It is now based on three conventions:
— Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 (amended by the 1972 protocol);
— Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971;
— United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
b) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
The UNODC was established in 1997 and is part of the UN Secretariat. It is based in Vienna and employs around 500 people. It is solely responsible for coordinating all United Nations activities relating to drug control and for providing effective leadership for these activities.
Its main role is to assist Member States in their fight against drug trafficking, crime and terrorism.
The three pillars of the UNODC’s work program are:
Research and analytical work to increase understanding of the phenomena related to drugs and the issues of organized transnational crime,
Normative work to assist States in the ratification and implementation of the international treaties,
technical cooperation projects to enhance the capacity of Member States to counteract illicit drugs, crime and terrorism and deal with some of the consequences.
c) Work of the Security Council
The Security Council has been called upon to focus on several areas where drug trafficking is a key issue:
— Afghanistan: the Security Council noted the threat posed by the production and trafficking of drugs on the security and stability of the country and the region (resolution 1890/ 2009); through a resolution adopted on France’s initiative it also called for improved oversight of the international trade in chemical precursors (resolution 1817/ 2008).
— Haiti – the Security Council invited the MINUSTAH States to strengthen their collaboration with the Haitian government in order to curb cross-border drug trafficking (resolution 1892/ 2009).
— Guinea Bissau: the Security Council fully understood the extent of the threats generated by the expansion of drug trafficking and organized crime, not just for the countries but also for the sub-region of West Africa. In this respect it welcomes the initiative for the West African coast with the participation of ECOWAS (presidential statements of October 15, 2008, and November 5, 2009).
For the first time in 2009, the Security Council addressed the issue at the global level (see above), with a particular focus on the situation in Africa. The issue of drugs was also widely discussed during the debate on transnational threats on 24 February 2010.
(d) Work of the General Assembly
Every year, the General Assembly adopts a resolution on the issue of transnational organized crime. In its resolution 64/179 of 18 December 2009, the General Assembly noted with concern the negative impact of transnational organized crime and drug trafficking on peace and security and the increasing vulnerability of States.
15 April 2013 – Security Council - Peace and Security in Africa – Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
19 November 2012 - Security Council - Piracy/Somalia - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
14 November 2012 - Security Council - Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts - Statement by Mr. Philippe Bertoux, Political Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations
29 June 2012 - Security Council - Central African region - Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
10 May 2012 - Security Council - Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts - Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
4 May 2012 - Security Council - Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts - Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
25 April 2012 - Security Council - Securing borders against illicit cross-border trafficking and movement - Statement by M. Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
27 February 2012 - Security Council - Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
21 February 2012 - Security Council - The Impact of Transnational Organized Crime in West Africa and the Sahel - Statement by Edouard Courtial, Minister of State responsible for French Nationals Abroad, attached to the Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
26 January 2012 - Security Council - Peace and security in Africa/Sahel - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
19 October 2011 - Security Council - Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud - Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
24 June 2011 - Security Council - Threats to international peace and security - Statement by Mrs Béatrice Le Fraper, Counsellor for Legal Issues of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations
16 May 2011 - Security Council - Terrorism - Transnational threats to international peace and security - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
17 June 2010 - General Assembly - High-level meeting on crime prevention and criminal justice - Statement by M. Jean-Marie Bockel, French Minister of State for Justice
24 February 2010 - Security Council - Threats to international peace and security - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
8 December 2009 - Security Council - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
15 avril 2013 - Conflict prevention in Africa: addressing the root causes - Security Council Presidential Statement
19 November 2012 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
29 June 2011 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
25 April 2012 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
On 29 February 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2039
14 November 2011 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
14 November 2011 - Security Council - Report on the Lord’s Resistance Army-affected areas / Report on the activities of the United Nations Office for Central Africa - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
31 October 2011 - Resolution 2018 condemning piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea
24 October 2011 - Resolution 2015 condemning piracy off the coasts of Somalia
24 February 2010 - Transnational threats to international peace and security - Statement by the President of the Security Council
8 December 2009 - Statement by the President of the Security Council