President Hollande speaking at UNGA
21 September 2016

United Nations General Assembly: France’s 3 appeals

When the President of the Republic addressed the United Nations General Assembly on 20 September, he made three appeals: for the climate, for Africa and for Syria.

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Appeal for the climate

France calls for every effort to be made to implement the historic agreement signed in Paris on 12 December 2015, for there is no time to lose: the Paris Agreement will only enter into force if it is ratified by 55% of countries accounting for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions.
France will notify the United Nations of the completion of its ratification procedure. It calls on all United Nations member countries to speed up their ratification procedures so that everything is finalised by the end of the year. COP21 was the decision-making conference. COP22 must be the one to provide solutions. It is a matter of implementing the International Solar Alliance, combating desertification, protecting the oceans, and setting a carbon price.

Appeal for Africa

President Hollande also made “an appeal for Africa”. France proposes an Agenda 2020 for Africa, which should lead to all Africans gaining access to electricity. The issue here is twofold: enabling African countries to take advantage of their huge potential for development and reducing population displacements that destabilise countries of origin and host countries alike.
It was to this effect that a renewable energy initiative was launched during COP21. Ten funding partners have undertaken to mobilise $10 billion by 2020, with France contributing 20% of the total.
But there will be no development in Africa without its security being guaranteed. Well aware of this, France shouldered its responsibilities in Mali, where the threat was finally contained. It has continued to lend its support to the armies concerned in order to help them combat terrorism, in Niger, Chad, Benin and Cameroon in particular. Such action must be taken further with the United Nations and the African Union. We need to be clear on this: the security of Africa’s peoples must be achieved by Africans themselves if external interference is to be avoided.

Appeal for Syria

"Enough is enough! The Syrian tragedy will go down in history as a disgrace to the international community if we don’t put an end to it quickly,” François Hollande finally stated.
As was the case last February, the ceasefire in Syria only lasted a few days. The Syrian regime is to blame for its failure. The Bashar Al-Assad regime’s foreign supporters must force peace, otherwise they will share the responsibility for division and chaos in Syria. The Security Council must also meet as soon as possible. In the President of the Republic’s words, “it must not be a theatre of fools” where “everyone avoids responsibility” and where “some parties hinder the Security Council’s work” in order to protect the regime.
France sets four preconditions for providing a solution for the refugees and guaranteeing Syria’s territorial integrity.
  • First of all, we must impose the ceasefire in line with the decisions already taken.
  • Humanitarian aid must be sent to Aleppo and other martyred cities as a matter of urgency.
  • A solution must be reached through resumption of political negotiations in line with the principles for transition established back in 2012.
  • Justice must punish the use of chemical weapons.
As François Hollande reminded his audience, "France never gives up”. Which is why it took the initiative of helping look for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The aim is to organise a conference by the end of the year “so that Israelis and Palestinians will be able to negotiate and assume the responsibility for doing so”.
France has worked in the same spirit in order to find a solution in Ukraine. Everything must be done to ensure that the Minsk Agreements are implemented if we are not to see a resumption of violence or even war break out. A joint initiative has therefore been taken with Germany to bring the Russian and Ukrainian Presidents together in order to achieve this goal.
In the face of terrorism, we must actively assume our responsibilities whenever necessary, rather than simply talk about solidarity. That is what France has done, not because it was attacked (all countries are targets of terrorism these days) but because it is a permanent member of the Security Council and its role is to act. “France’s only enemies are the forces of hatred and intolerance,” the President of the Republic asserted. “The fanatics, those who exploit a betrayed religion to arouse fear, and the populisms that make use of distress to divide, separate, stigmatise, and set religions against each another, risking a confrontation that would have terrible consequences for our societies’ cohesion”. Confronted with such enemies, we must be clear: “France is a secular country and proclaims itself as such; but it is a country that speaks to all religions and ensures freedom of worship on its soil,” François Hollande stated.