For the first time in many years, the UN decolonization unit held several meetings with each of the four administering powers: United Kingdom, France, New Zealand and the United States, as well as various other “stakeholders”, in order to identify next steps in the decolonization process.
This emerged in an address by UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson last month opening the 2014 session of the Committee of 24.
Mr. Eliasson said that there are encouraging signs of rejuvenation of the work of the Special Committee. For example, the General Assembly last year recognized that French Polynesia remains a Non-Self-Governing Territory. This effectively mandated the Special Committee to consider an additional item on the agenda.
Likewise for the first time in many years, the Bureau held several meetings with each of the four administering Powers: France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as various other stakeholders, in order to identify next steps in the decolonization process.
The UN top official welcomed the intensification of the face-to-face talks among interested parties and I also appreciate that all administering Powers have given the green light in principle for visiting missions where appropriate. The voice of the C-24 is again becoming loud and clear.
To the international community colonialism is a historic aberration and thus all must take up the challenge of eradicating remaining forms of colonialism, in keeping with the principles of the Charter and relevant United Nations resolutions.
I call for inclusive, proactive and forward-looking efforts by the Special Committee, the administering Powers and the Non-Self-Governing Territories, on a case-by-case basis. This could help trigger a break in a deadlock on some cases, or encourage the Committee to become involved in situations between a Territory and its administering Power.
Finally the 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories look to the United Nations for comprehensive and sustained initiatives for the future and the Special Committee has begun to open a wider window of opportunities.
Still, the pace of decolonization remains slow. I am confident that the year ahead will be a period of intensified diplomatic efforts on decolonization as the Committee continues to build on its recent steps forward in dialogue and consensus-building. These include the planned expansion of the Special Committee’s Bureau, with the addition of Indonesia, and the first visiting mission of the decade, to New Caledonia.