“Our common goal is to give greater priority to the decolonization agenda and stimulate accelerated action”, UN Secretary General António Guterres told Special Committee on Decolonizationor C-24, Regional Seminary.
The committee was established by the General Assembly in 1961 and is tasked with reviewing the application of Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
Since the birth of the United Nations in 1945, more than 80 former colonies, consisting of approximately 750 million people, have gained independence. The ongoing process affects 17 non-self-governing territoriesrepresenting almost 2 million people.
Focus on the SDGs
Highlighting the theme of the seminar, advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the territories, the Secretary-General said that halfway to the deadline for 2030 Agenda for sustainable development“we are leaving more than half the world behind”.
“Progress has stalled and, in some cases, even the reverse,” he warned. “The SDGs are the path to peace and prosperity for all on a healthy planet; no country can afford to see them fail.”
But for many non-self-governing territories that are small islands of the front lines of the climate crisis“the stakes are existential,” he warned.
“As a global community, we need to ensure that territories have the resources and support you need to advance the SDGs, build resilience and invest in your future”, he told the delegates.
The decolonization process must be guided by the aspirations and needs of the territories on a case-by-case basis, he said, expressing gratitude to the Committee for its unwavering commitment to the complete elimination of colonialism.
To turn the tide
“I expect you will create new ideas and open new paths for stronger cooperation between the territories, administering powers and other stakeholders, in accordance with relevant resolutions,” he said.
“Together, we can turn the tide and kick-start a new drive to achieve the SDGs in the territories and beyond,” he says.
Learn more about how the UN is helping with decolonization efforts here.