21 September 2010

Independent Analysis Concludes Decolonisation Remains Unfinished Agenda of the United Nations

Comprehensive Study Shows Limited Progress in Carrying Out the Decolonisation Mandate

An independent Analysis of the Implementation of the United Nations Decolonisation Mandate during the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2001 – 2010) has concluded that whilst the United Nations has adopted a series of significant recommendations over the last two decades to bring the contemporary colonial era to a close, the implementation of these measures adopted by the nations of the world leave much to be desired. The study noted that the lack of follow-through is the most important impediment to bringing "new millenium colonialism" to a close. The United Nations formlly lists sixteen non self-governing territories comprised of island dependencies in the Caribbean and Pacific, as well as several under sovereignty dispute. Only two territories since 1990- Namibia and Timor Leste - have exercised their inalienable right to self-determination and subsequet decolonisation.

The study was conducted by Independent Expert on Governance and Multilateral Diplomacy Dr. Carlyle Corbin who delivered the initial findings to the United Nations Pacific Regional Seminar on Decolonisation which met in Noumea, Kanaky (New Caledonia) last May. The full and updated analysis has been published in the September  2010 edition of Overseas Territories Report (Vol. IX No. 5).  The following  Introduction to the analysis was made available to OTR.


The Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (IDEC) is scheduled to expire at the end of 2010, coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Decolonisation Declaration [Resolution 1514 (XV)] , and Resolution 1541 (XV) which defined the minimum international standards of full self-government through the three legitimate political status alternatives of independence, free association with an independent States and integration into an independent State.

The present analysis serves as an update to the “Mid-Term Assessment of the Level of Implementation of the Plan of Action of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism” (Canuoan Assessment Paper) delivered to the Caribbean Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism: mid term review, follow-up, and priorities for action which convened in Canouan, St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2005.

The assessment on the implementation of the mandate of the First International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism over the period (1991-2000), was presented to the United Nations Pacific and Caribbean Regional Seminar(s) to Review the Political, Economic and Social Conditions in the Small Island Non-Self-Governing Territories which convened in Majuro, Marshall Islands in 2000, and to the Caribbean regional seminar which met in La Habana, Cuba in 2001, respectively. The Majuro and Havana Assessments were utilised in support of the adoption of the Second IDEC.

The present analysis identifies the legislative authority in undertaking the international decolonisation mandate during the second IDEC (2001-2010), as established in relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Additionally, the recommendations of the Caribbean and Pacific regional seminars were examined since the actions called for largely emanated from governmental and civil society representatives of the non self-governing territories themselves. The regional seminars themselves emerged as the most successful and consistent activity of the two plans of action for the first and second decades.

Within this framework, the paper also explores the level of implementation of the actions called for by the United Nations system, including the Special Committee on Decolonisation, the wider UN system including its UN specialised agencies, the administering Powers and relevant intergovernmental organisations and civil society.

The overall intention of the paper is to assess the level of compliance to date with the international mandate undertaken by the relevant stakeholders, consistent with recognised international standards, and to offer future strategies to be taken for the way forward.

The full analysis is available from overseasreview@yahoo.com .