France and the United Nations

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France’s role at the United Nations

France was a founding member of the United Nations when it was established in 1945. It is a permanent member of the Security Council alongside the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and China. In this capacity it plays a driving role on a number of subjects. It is also represented both in the other main UN bodies and subsidiary bodies and has been elected to the Human Rights Council. Furthermore, it is a permanent member of the Conference on Disarmament.

Within the United Nations, France is active in every field.

Reform of the United Nations

Recent crises have highlighted the central role of the UN, but they have also underlined the need to make it more effective and more representative of current global balances. This is why France is working resolutely towards Security Council reform.

Just as it promotes the expansion of the G8 into the G13, it also supports a widening of the Security Council in the framework of the negotiations opened on this issue at the General Assembly on 19 February 2009. France thus supports permanent membership for Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, as well as increased Security Council membership of African countries, notably among the permanent members.

There is also the question of the presence of an Arab country as a permanent member.

France would also like review work to be carried out on Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) in order to make them more effective and more capable of achieving their goals. It made a joint proposal with the United Kingdom to its Council partners for reflection on the issue.

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Human rights

France has always had a special role in the area of human rights. It inspired the 1948 Universal Declaration and continues to fight today for human rights worldwide, both through its leading role on the Human Rights Council and through it action at the Security Council.

France also supports the fight against impunity to prevent new atrocities, and contributed to the creation of the International Criminal Court. It was one of the first States to ratify the Court’s Statute.

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The environment and climate disruption

Concerning the environment and climate change, France’s action is carried out in the European Union framework, which plays a leading role in mobilization and seeking solutions.

The European Union and France thus worked with the major CO2 emitters for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which was signed in 1997 and entered into force in 2005. The Protocol, aimed at implementing the Framework Convention on Climate Change that was adopted during the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, asks developed States to reduce their CO2 emissions. It was the first to establish a market in greenhouse gas emission trading in order to achieve this goal.

During the 19th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP19), France was officially appointed host country for the 21st climate conference: the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.

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Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Official Development Assistance (ODA) is an essential part of France’s foreign policy.

During the Monterrey Conference in 2002, France committed to increasing its ODA to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The French Government thus set itself the goal of increasing ODA to 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015.

France implements strong diplomatic efforts to promote innovative international mechanisms which could contribute additional resources for development, such as the tax on air tickets to finance UNITAID and the International Finance Facility for Immunisation.

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Maintenance of peace and security

In the area of peacekeeping and security, France plays an important role in disarmament. It has worked towards the drafting of many treaties, such as the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) which was adopted in 2008, has been deeply involved in efforts to ensure compliance with the non-proliferation regime, and has played a key role in adopting various resolutions on Iran and North Korea.

France and the United Kingdom were the first two States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1998 and France is working for its entry into force.

France was also the first State to have decided on and implemented the dismantlement of its facilities for the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. It supports the resumption of the work on negotiating a Treaty banning the production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons.

More generally, it seeks to steadfastly promote an ambitious and efficient role for the United Nations based on international law and consensus:

  • During the 2003 Iraq crisis, France opposed unilateral use of force and advocated a central role for the United Nations;
  • Its military and police forces are heavily present outside its borders.

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Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York

The permanent representative or deputy permanent representative sits on the Security Council, as well as on all bodies where France has representation. They speak on behalf of France and uphold its positions.

For their part, the experts at the French Mission prepare and negotiate the resolutions and texts adopted by these different bodies.