30 March 2010

UN Decolonisation Committee Approves Pacific Seminar Participation

United Nations Press Release

The General Assembly’s Special Committee on Decolonization approved today the partial composition of its official delegation to attend the 2010 Pacific Regional Seminar -- to be held in Nouméa, New Caledonia, from 18 to 20 May –- and endorsed the list of experts and non-governmental organizations that will be invited to the event.

Chairman Donatus Keith St. Aimée (Saint Lucia) said the official delegation would comprise the Bureau and one Special Committee member from each regional group: Africa; Asia; Latin America and the Caribbean; and Eastern Europe. As such, the official delegation would consist of eight representatives, he said, adding that the United Nations would bear the cost of the delegation’s travel.

Following those announcements, the Special Committee agreed to the following composition of its official delegation to the Seminar: Saint Lucia, Cuba, Sierra Leone and Syria (Bureau members); and the Russian Federation (Eastern Europe). The Chairman said negotiations were continuing to determine who would represent the African, Asian and Latin American and Caribbean Groups.

Chairman St. Aimée then announced that, as in previous years, the Bureau planned to invite three experts and three representatives of non-governmental organizations to speak at the Seminar, all six of whom would be funded by the United Nations. The list of proposed participants had been drawn up and e-mailed to all members of the Special Committee last week and, thus far, the Bureau had received no feedback from the membership.

He went on to say that the Secretariat had informed him that the participation of the first non-governmental organization participant, who was from New Caledonia, the host Territory, would entail no travel costs, and the savings realized would allow the Special Committee to fund another civil society participant, from American Samoa, representing the Future Political Study Commission.

Noting that the Territory was currently undergoing constitutional transformation regarding its future political status, he proposed that the Special Committee invite the American Samoa representative to participate in the Seminar, asking: “Who best can inform us about the situations we are concerned with than those that are working on the ground?”

The Special Committee approved that proposal, as well as the list of participating experts and non-governmental organizations earlier circulated among the membership. It also approved a request that the Secretariat proceed accordingly, including with the necessary travel arrangements.

Chairman St. Aimée added that the Bureau would, in accordance with the Special Committee’s earlier decisions, invite all elected and appointed officials of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to the Seminar. Invitations would also be extended to other Member States, administering Powers, United Nations specialized agencies and some regional organizations. Those representatives would participate at their own cost, he said.

Before the Special Committee wrapped up its work, Cuba’s representative announced that consultations were underway to determine who would represent the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States at the Seminar. The Group had set a deadline of 1 p.m. today, and would transmit a note verbal to the Special Committee once a decision was made.

In the second meeting of its current session, the Special Committee -- informally known as the “Committee of 24” -– approved the plans for its 2010 Pacific Regional Seminar on 18 March, when it also decided, in keeping with its tradition, that the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories would be celebrated during that event. Additionally, the Special Committee approved the Guidelines and Rules of Procedure (document A/AC.109/2010/18) for the Seminar, and decided to authorize the Chair to finalize the list of selected experts, non-governmental organizations and others to be invited (Please see Press Release GA/COL/3201).

Established by the General Assembly in 1961, the Special Committee  (on Decolonization) was mandated to monitor implementation of the (Decolonization) Declaration and to make recommendations on its application.