Mr. President,

Switzerland thanks Niger for organizing this debate and the speakers for their contributions. As a French-speaking country and as a member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), Switzerland underlines the importance of the cooperation between the UN and the OIF.

The multilateral system can only benefit from the complementarity between the two organizations and from the comparative advantage of each of them. Cooperation is particularly important in areas such as the promotion of democracy and the prevention of conflicts. Strengthening this cooperation is therefore in the interest of the Security Council.

Switzerland would like to highlight two important areas of action to deepen the cooperation between the UN and the OIF:

First, free and fair elections are essential to peace and security. All too often, violence, including by government entities, still occurs, preventing full participation. Inclusion of different groups is essential to prevent the violence that tends to erupt when stakeholders question the integrity of the process. Special attention to minorities is required. Inclusion of women and youth is also essential. Civil society plays an important role in all stages of an electoral process. Through their technical expertise and political monitoring, the OIF and the UN play a key role in accompanying the elections. As several elections approach in OIF member states, particularly in West Africa, good collaboration between these two organizations can support the strengthening of democratic gains and stability in the region.

Second, respecting and promoting multilingualism and pluriculturalism must be fully ensured within the UN. Our own experience in Switzerland, with four national languages and different cultures, demonstrates the value of diversity in maintaining peace and security. We welcome efforts to increase the number of French-speaking staff members, particularly in peacekeeping missions in French-speaking contexts. We invite the UN, including the Council, to further integrate the francophone expertise of the OIF in its work. A good example of the added value of the OIF is the work of the Boutros-Ghali Peacekeeping Observatory. Through its support for the Observatory's research activities, Switzerland contributes to improving the representation of francophone countries in UN peacekeeping operations.

Mr. President,

Fifty years after its creation, the OIF plays an important role for a strong and effective multilateralism. The Council must continue to recognize the role of the OIF for peace and security. Switzerland welcomes the continued cooperation between the OIF and the UN in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

Thank you.