Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Debate on the International Organization of the Francophonie (via VTC)

David Lee
Deputy Political Counselor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
September 8, 2020


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Madame Secretary-General, for your briefing on the work of the organization, and [inaudible] for your informative briefings. The United States is pleased to take this opportunity to celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary.

Since its creation, the OIF has used its good offices, its ability to mobilize French-speaking professionals and technical experts, and its coordination capabilities to help maintain peace, strengthen democratic institutions, and reinforce human rights. These efforts have played out not just in French-speaking countries, but all over the world.

Collaboration and coordination between the OIF and the UN have been particularly noteworthy in challenging situations. Working with at-risk youth populations in Mali is just one example where the OIF and UN have worked hand-in-hand in complex environments to maintain international peace and security.

The OIF’s work to increase the number of qualified peacekeepers and to promote women’s participation in peacekeeping has been particularly valuable. These efforts closely parallel two of the United States’ top priorities in the UN. Because we have seen the direct consequences of poor performance in peacekeeping, we are fiercely committed to having highly-qualified peacekeepers, and the OIF’s initiatives have a direct and positive impact on that front. And we know that more women peacekeepers mean better peacekeeping performance and effectiveness. On that note, I would also like to congratulate my Indonesian colleagues for the adoption of last month’s important resolution on Women in Peacekeeping.

We also know the ability of peacekeepers to communicate with local populations is tremendously important when working to build trust, gather timely information, and deliver upon much-needed security. With over fifty percent of the peacekeeping budget dedicated to operations in Francophone areas, the OIF serves a vital function in preparing Francophone peacekeepers to face the dynamic and complex environments they are called to work in. We commend the OIF’s efforts to build up the reserve of French-speaking peacekeepers working in UN peace operations, to promote peacekeeping reforms, and to reinforce African peacekeeping capabilities in Francophone areas.

Thank you, Mr. President.