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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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Paris, France, 6 December 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks at opening session of Elysée Summit on Peace and Security in Africa

Mesdames et Messieurs,
Je suis ravi de participer à ce sommet sur la paix et la sécurité en Afrique, qui vient à point.
Je remercie le Président Hollande d’avoir pris l’initiative d’organiser cette importante rencontre.
This Summit takes place as the world mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela, one of the towering figures of our time and indeed of any time.
We who are gathered here to pursue peace and human dignity need look no further for guidance than his inspiring example.
His principled stand in defense of the fundamental equality of all human beings was decisive in dismantling the system of apartheid.
His remarkable compassion upon his release from prison set South Africa immediately on a path of dialogue and reconciliation.
He touched our lives deeply and taught us what is possible in Africa and across the world.
I was privileged to meet Nelson Mandela at his home in February 2009.
When I thanked him for his lifelong work and contribution to ending the apartheid and to peace and stability and humanity, he refused to take the compliment from me.  Instead, he stressed that there were many hundreds of heroes, so many -- some known, some unknown people -- who had helped him, and who deserved just as much praise and perhaps even more. This is a sign of humility and sense of human decency. I was moved deeply moved and he still gives me inspiration as I work as Secretary-General of United Nations
When I thanked him again, he corrected me again. He didn't accept my compliment.
I was deeply moved by the way he put the well-being of others first.
That is wisdom for today as we strive to help the vulnerable, end armed conflict, protect human rights and create the better future and the better world for which Nelson Mandela gave so much.       
The people of South Africa and the entire world have lost a hero.  His legacy is profound and will continue to guide the work of the United Nations.
May Nelson Mandela rest in peace and eternity.
And may his spirit preside over this Summit in Paris, as we strive to build on what he helped set in motion.
Mesdames et Messieurs,
            Des progrès considérables ont été réalisés ces 10 dernières années. En effet, dans bon nombre de pays africains, l’économie s’est dynamisée, la démocratie s’est développée, la société civile s’est mobilisée et la stabilité et la paix ont gagné du terrain. Les Africains ont tourné une nouvelle page de leur histoire.
            Les dirigeants africains dénoncent haut et fort les changements de gouvernement inconstitutionnels. Ils prennent des mesures pour concrétiser l’Architecture africaine de paix et de sécurité, notamment en cas d’intervention rapide.
            Au moyen du Mécanisme africain d’évaluation par les pairs, ils s’attaquent aux causes profondes des conflits, ouvrant ainsi la voie à la participation citoyenne et au renforcement de l’application du principe de responsabilité et la justice. Je partage, avec le peuple africain, l’espoir que tous les pays prennent part au processus et en tirent profit.
The partnership among the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, France and other partners has also come a long way.
We are better prepared to tackle crises, with new mechanisms at all levels.  We are taking promising new joint approaches in our diplomacy and our deployments.  And we are working hand–in-hand in many countries on conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
As we recognize these achievements and advances, we must also act with resolve on Africa’s challenges.
Transnational organized crime, piracy, drug-trafficking and terrorism are taking a growing toll, exploiting weaknesses in institutions, borders and the rule of law.
The persistence of regional conflicts is another cause of great concern.
Mali has made important electoral progress, but the threat of extremism is very much alive and there is an urgent need for an inclusive dialogue that addresses the root causes of the conflict. The United Nations, including through its peacekeeping operation, MINUSMA, will continue to support stabilization efforts and help Mali take advantage of the current window of opportunity.
Somalia has re-established state institutions and adopted a Provisional Federal Constitution, but security progress has stalled and the situation is fragile.  International support for AMISOM and the New Deal framework remains vital
I'd like to thank the troop-contributing countries of Africa for their contribution and sacrifices for peace and stability.
Mesdames et Messieurs,
            Dans la région des Grands Lacs, la défaite infligée au M23 par les forces armées congolaises a fait renaître l’espoir d’un retour de la paix dans les Kivus. Elle a également démontré le bien-fondé du renforcement de la MONUSCO. J’espère que les pourparlers de Kampala aboutiront bientôt et qu’une action concertée sera menée pour régler le problème des groupes armés qui continuent de sévir, s’en prenant aux civils et compromettant la stabilité régionale.
Excellences,
            Je tiens tout particulièrement à lancer un appel à l’action en République centrafricaine, avant même le sommet de demain sur cette question urgente. La violence de ces derniers jours nous rappelle une fois de plus que nous devons agir immédiatement. La résolution qui vient d’être adoptée par le Conseil de sécurité constitue une mesure importante, et le déploiement de forces françaises supplémentaires sera également essentiel. Je remercie le Président Hollande, et le gouvernement français, pour sa prompte action face à cette crise tragique.

Je continuerai de consulter les chefs d’État et de gouvernement de la région, en vue de renforcer la capacité de la MISCA et d’envisager notamment sa transformation en opération de maintien de la paix.

Excellencies, distinguished Heads of State and Government

Peace and development must go hand in hand.

That was the message of my visit to the Sahel region last month, when I was joined by the African Union, the European Union, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, who announced important initiatives and very generous financial pledges aimed at addressing the complex crisis there.
The security-development nexus was also at the forefront of my visit to the Great Lakes region earlier this year, when I was also joined by the World Bank President and we stressed the need for the people to see quick and visible peace dividends. 
These links will remain crucial as we follow up on today’s Summit.
I will count on you to make the Millennium Development Goals a top priority.  Too many African youth lack jobs; too many women face violence; too many children die of preventable diseases.
I will look to your guidance as we shape a post-2015 development agenda.  My hope is that Member States will agree on an agenda that is bold in ambition yet simple in design; that is universal yet responsive to the needs and circumstances of individual countries; and that includes a concise and single set of sustainable development goals to mobilize the world just as the MDGs have done.
Finally, the world needs you to show great leadership in addressing climate change, which will have profound consequences from Africa’s crowded coasts to the continent’s increasingly fragile drylands.  I invite you to attend the Climate Summit that I will convene on 23 September next year in New York.  Let us work together to develop Africa’s renewable energy sources – and for an ambitious agreement here in Paris in 2015 that reflects the continent’s needs.
There is high expectation, Mr. President, on your leadership to have a global legal climate change agreement by the end of 2015 here in Paris.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

            Je suis fermement résolu à œuvrer avec vous au service de la paix et du développement en Afrique. Il nous faut régler les problèmes qui suscitent l’instabilité, faire en sorte que la croissance soit de qualité et bâtir des sociétés fondées sur l’égalité et les possibilités, respectant les principes de l’état de droit et d’une gouvernance transparente et participative.

            Notre objectif commun est clair : que chaque femme, chaque homme, et chaque enfant en Afrique vive dans la dignité.

            Je continuerai d’être à l’écoute de chacun, ainsi que des peuples d’Afrique. J’ai toujours pour priorité de veiller à ce que la présence diversifiée de l’ONU produise des résultats concrets.

            Ensemble, Mesdames et Messieurs, nous nous acquitterons des responsabilités tant politiques que morales que nous avons envers les générations actuelles et futures.
            Je vous remercie.Thank you very much.


Statements on 6 December 2013