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Official speeches and statements - April 15, 2021

Published on April 15, 2021

1. Climate - Seven countries launch international coalition Export Finance for Future (E3F) to align export finance with climate objectives - Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery (Paris - April 14, 2021)

During a virtual meeting on April 14, under the chairmanship of Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, the governments of Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom solemnly launched the Export Finance for Future (E3F) coalition to harness public export finance as a key driver in the fight against climate change.

For the first time, a group of countries publicly demonstrate their willingness to both massively increase support for sustainable and climate-friendly projects and impose restrictions on fossil fuels overseas. First movers taking coordinated action is essential to build momentum at a global level and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Leading by example, the E3F coalition aims at gathering quickly the largest number of new member countries so as to gain a critical mass, both to accelerate the progressive phasing out of carbon-intensive projects and significantly increase the financial support to exporters’ projects compatible with the Paris climate agreement.

The seven signing countries today call upon all other countries to join the coalition and align export financing with climate objectives. The seven members of the E3F coalition adhered today to a set of principles and, in particular, commit to:

  • Developing incentives to better support the development of exports to sustainable projects in all sectors of the economy;
  • Ending trade and export support directed to unabated coal power;
  • Reviewing our trade and export finance support to fossil fuels and assessing how to best phase it out, taking into account industries’ respective characteristics;
  • Starting a climate-oriented review of our respective trade and export finance activities, so as to have a shared and documented understanding of their climate impacts, and working on improving transparency on climate-related information, in particular when it comes to the identification of sustainable projects;
  • Promoting the initiative and engaging with other providers of official trade and export finance, in all relevant fora and in particular in the OECD, with a view to shaping a level playing field that would duly take the climate emergency into account.

Bruno Le Maire declared: "Finance must be a driving force in the fight against global warming. The Export Finance for Future coalition is part of this strategy. Today, for the first time, several countries publicly committed to massively increase support for sustainable projects and to assess how to best phase out export finance support to oil and gas industries. The moment is decisive. I invite all countries sharing our convictions to join this alliance to ensure full alignment between our national emission reduction strategies and our trade and export support policies and thus make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change. Ecological transition is the major challenge of the 21st century, and we can only take it up together."

[source of English text: Ministry of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery website]

2. United Nations - Sexual violence in conflict - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the Security Council (New York - April 14, 2021)

Mr. President,

Let me begin by welcoming Vietnam’s commitment to combating sexual violence in conflict. I also thank the Special Representative as well as Dr. Mukwege and other representatives of civil society for their briefings.

France shares the concerns expressed in the report and in the statements made today. Conflict-related sexual violence continues with impunity, particularly in the context of the pandemic. I am thinking in particular of the situations in Tigray, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria and the Central African Republic.

It is no longer time for observations but for action. Our collective responsibility is to ensure the implementation of all the relevant resolutions of this Council. We must also ensure that the commitments made by the concerned parties are respected.

France strongly condemns the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war and a tool of terror. We also condemn any sexist, misogynistic or homophobic discourse that exacerbates violence. I wish to emphasize four points:

Firstly, all forms of violence must be suppressed. The pandemic has reduced access to police, justice and health services. Non-compliance and impunity remain major problems. This is particularly the case in Syria, where France is firmly committed to ensuring that the perpetrators of such crimes are punished. France believes in the importance of justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition. We welcome the role of the International Criminal Court for its contribution to the fight against this scourge and note in this regard the recent first instance conviction of Dominic Ongwen in Uganda.

We must also adopt a survivor-centered approach and ensure comprehensive care for survivors. They must have access to medical, psychological and social follow-up to help them return to a normal life. This is why France is continuing its financial commitment of 6.2 million euros to the Global Fund for Survivors of Sexual Violence created by Nobel Peace Prize winners Dr. Mukwege and Ms. Murad.

We must also put an end to the obstacles to access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. We regret the politicization of these issues which leads to a loss of sight of the best interests of women and girls. France is funding a 5 million euro project in Chad to empower women through better access to these services and health and psychosocial care. The protection of these rights will be at the heart of the process of the Generation Equality Forum, launched in Mexico City and which will conclude in Paris from June 30 to July 2.

Finally, this Council must do more. France will continue to support the inclusion of such violence in the mandates, to promote the implementation of the "Women, Peace and Security" resolutions and the provision of adequate resources for the teams on the ground. In addition, the sanctioning of perpetrators of sexual violence is necessary and the Security Council must do more in this regard.

This battle must be waged relentlessly and without compromise. France will do its utmost, in particular in the context of the Generation Equality Forum.

Thank you.

3. Development - Official development assistance/publication of 2020 official development assistance figures by the OECD Development Assistance Committee - Joint communiqué issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery (Paris - April 13, 2021)

The Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) today published preliminary data on global official development assistance (ODA) for 2020. With ODA at euro12.4 billion, i.e. 0.53% of gross national income (GNI) - up by 10.9% in real terms compared to the previous year -, France remains in fifth place among international aid donors.

In line with the French President’s commitment to increase France’s resources for protecting global public goods, French ODA rose for the sixth consecutive year (up euro2.3 billion since the beginning of the five-year term).

The increase in French ODA is mainly driven by bilateral assistance (up 20.8% in current euros compared to 2019). Bilateral funding in donations increased by 2%, in accordance with the targets set by the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID) in February 2018. Assistance for projects, enabling practical projects to be funded on the ground, tripled by comparison with 2019, particularly thanks to increased activity in non-C2D donations directly implemented by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and activity entrusted to the French Development Agency (AFD). Sub-Saharan Africa, which is central to France’s development policy, received a third of our bilateral ODA (euro2.9 billion), up 40% compared to 2019. The bilateral ODA allocated by France to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) stands at euro1.7 billion.

France allocated euro1.9 billion to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries in 2020 - more than the other European donors. In particular, through the AFD, it established a Health in Common Initiative worth euro1.2 billion - euro150 million of it in donations - which, among other things, improved care for patients and strengthened the capabilities of the Pasteur Institute’s reference laboratories in several sub-Saharan African countries.

French ODA to international organizations and multilateral funds amounted to €4.4 billion (up 2.8%). Over half corresponded to France’s contribution to the ODA implemented by the European Union. This money also financed the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), Unitaid, Gavi The Vaccine Alliance’s Finance Facility and the Green Climate Fund. France stepped up its support to the least developed countries through its contribution to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and the African Development Fund (ADF).

The programming bill on inclusive development and combating global inequalities, presented by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and adopted by the National Assembly on March 2, 2021, realizes France’s new ambition for development policy. Through increased resources and overhauled methods, it reflects the desire to ensure our action is effective on the ground, helping the most vulnerable people, and to mobilize our partners to take more robust action to protect global public goods (climate, health, education). The Senate is currently discussing the bill.