29 March 2010

UN Pacific Decolonisation Seminar to Review Progress in Decolonisation

The United Nations (UN) Special Committee on Decolonisation is set to convene its 2010 seminar to assess the implementation of the international decolonisation mandate. The seminar is scheduled to be held in the French – administered territory of New Caledonia from 18th to 20th May 2010.

This is only the second time in the almost two decades since the seminars have been held that one of the sixteen non self-governing territories will be the venue. Only the British – administered territory of Anguilla has previously hosted one of the sessions, in 2003. In both cases, the United Kingdom and France, respectively, concurred with the request of the territorial governments concerned to host the seminars. The other major administering power, the United States, has been less flexible, declining earlier requests to host similar seminars.

Non Self-Governing Territories formally listed by the United Nations (2010)


British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
St. Helena
Turks and Caicos Islands
United States Virgin Islands

Western Sahara


American Samoa
New Caledonia

The decolonisation seminar mechanism was adopted by the Special Committee, and endorsed by the UN General Assembly, as part of the identical plans of action of the first and second International Decade(s) for the Eradication of Colonialism (IDEC). The purpose of the seminars over the years has been to bring together representatives of the elected governments of the non self-governing territories, administering powers, United Nations agencies, international decolonisation experts, and non-governmental organisations in order to examine ways and means to bring about decolonisation in the remaining territories.

Documentation for the 2010 seminar includes the annual UN working papers for each territory which are available at the UN website together with other relevant material. This is the final regional seminar under the Second IDEC which terminates at the end of 2010. The success of the sessions through the exchange of experiences and information, coupled with the realisation that the decolonisation process continues, should be taken into account in the development of future UN plans to deal with what has been described as the “unfinished business of the UN.”

                Agenda of the 2010 Decolonisation Seminar

1. The role of the Special Committee in facilitating the decolonization of the Non-Self-Governing Territories within the framework of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism:

(a) Analysis of results, ongoing processes and prevailing trends at the end of the Second Decade;

(b) Assessments and lessons learned;

(c) What comes next?

2. The perspectives of the Special Committee, the administering Powers and territorial Governments, as well as the views of experts and civil society, on the resolution of the remaining challenges:

(a) In the Pacific region Non-Self-Governing Territories;

(b) In the Caribbean region Non-Self-Governing Territories;

(c) In other Non-Self-Governing Territories.

3. The role of the United Nations system in providing developmental assistance to Non-Self-Governing Territories:

(a) Presentations by the United Nations Development Programme and others;

(b) Perspectives of the Special Committee, the administering Powers and territorial Governments, as well as the views of experts and civil society.

4. Way forward: advancing the decolonization process with all concerned.


anne Noonan said...

Is the seminar open to the public? Will there be simultaneous translation into English ? A welcome intiative

Overseas Review said...

Further information concerning the seminar should be available from the relevant office(s) of the United Nations. We suggest that the UN website on decolonisation is a good place to start as there is a dedicated web page for the seminar.

Anonymous said...

Please note that Western Sahara is still on the UN list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. It is not mentioned in your list!

Overseas Review said...

Regret the inadvertent omission of Western Sahara which, of course, is on the U.N. list as the only remaining non self-governing territory in Africa. The correction has been made.

Overseas Review said...

We thank you for pointing out the omission of Western Sahara which is the single remaining non self-governing territory in Africa. The correction has been made.

Anonymous said...

The oldest colony of the world has been left out of the list of non- self governing territories---Puerto Rico.The U.N. was deceived by the U.S. in 1953 and thus incorrectly removed P.R. from the list.

Overseas Review said...

Absolutely! The list we published is the official UN list as of 2010. Puerto Rico and other "unlisted territories" were removed from the UN list before 1960 when the UN General Assembly defined the requirements of full self-government via Resolutions 1514 and 1541. The UN presently has no procedure to re-examine the formerly de-listed territories for compliance with full self-government. Despite this omission from the formal list, the UN Decolonisation Cmt. conducts hearings every June on the colonial question in Puerto Rico, and adopts a resolution which in recent years has called on the General Assembly to address this question. OTR will shortly publish a list of the "UN-listed Territories" which should stimulate further discussion on this topic. We will also publish a text from our archives on the issue of criteria for the removal of territories from the UN list.

Overseas Review said...

To clarify, the correct reference to the list we will publish is the "un-listed territories" rather than the "UN-listed territories" (which was published already).