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France and the UN: a strong commitment from the outset

Institutions and values

The UN flag © sanjitbakshi

A Member State of the UN since its creation in the aftermath of the Second World War and a permanent member of the Security Council, France has always a sought to promote peace through consensus and is strongly committed to official development assistance. © sanjitbakshi

France ratified the UN Charter in 1945 and is involved in many issues, from United Nations reform to concrete support for Peacekeeping Operations. It therefore aims to support strong action by the United Nations undertaken under international law, while looking to make the organisation more efficient and more representative of current global balances.

A founding State Member of the UN, and a permanent member of the Security Council

France was involved in the creation of the United Nations Organisation in 1945, and was one of the first States to ratify the Charter. As a permanent member of the Security Council (UNSC), France plays a key role within the United Nations system thanks to its presence in the main organs (General Assembly, Economic and Social Council etc.) and UN specialised agencies, as well as subsidiary organs (Human Rights Council, Conference on Disarmament etc.).

Within the United Nations system, France plays an active role in all areas: United Nations reform, Human Rights, environment, official development assistance, maintenance of peace and security etc. Its positions on these issues aims to make the organisation more efficient and more representative of current global balances, by advocating for example the expansion of the Security Council, notably with a permanent seat for Germany, Brazil, India and Japan.

Likewise, France supports the fight against impunity (it helped establish the International Criminal Court and was one of the first States to ratify the statute of this court) and promotes the notion of "Responsibility to Protect", initiated by Bernard Kouchner in the 1980s.

Defending peace and security through consensus and democracy

The maintenance of peace and security is one of France’s key areas of action at the UN: it has worked on the development of the Convention on the Prohibition of Cluster Munitions (2008) and is very involved in actions to enforce the non-proliferation regime. More generally, it strives to endorse an ambitious role for the United Nations based on international law and consensus, as during the Iraqi crisis in 2003 or more recently in Mali in 2013. In support of this commitment, more than 2,500 French blue helmets are deployed on the ground, with more than 6,500 additional French soldiers involved in Peacekeeping Operations.

A special commitment to Official Development Assistance

France has also made a commitment to increase its official development assistance (ODA) in order to achieve the Millennium Goals, with the objective of increasing its ODA to 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) by 2015. At the same time, it aims to promote innovative funding mechanisms for development: tax on airline tickets to finance UNITAID or the International Finance Facility for Immunisation.

With regard to the environment, France’s actions come within the framework of the European Union. In particular, it has worked to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. It also adopted, on 11th and 12th December 2008 under its presidency of the Council of the European Union, the "climate and energy package’’ which sets even more ambitious objectives for the countries of the European Union, to be achieved by 2020.