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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 21 February 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks at the opening of the 2013 Session of the Special Committee on Decolonization

Thank you for this opportunity to address the Special Committee at the start of its annual programme of work.

We are now well into the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.

Against the backdrop of ongoing financial crises and growing budgetary pressures, we must all strive to work with a results-oriented approach.

I have recently invited the General Assembly to consider reviewing mandated activities.  I would also appeal to this Committee to review its practices to maximize its effectiveness.

The international community is more convinced than ever that colonialism has no place in the modern world.

The eradication of colonialism, in keeping with the principles of the Charter and the relevant United Nations resolutions, is our common endeavour.

This requires the constructive involvement of all concerned – the Special Committee, the administering Powers and the Non-Self-Governing Territories – working on a case-by-case-basis.

The Special Committee should be at the forefront in identifying possibilities for change and in promoting priorities in the decolonization process for the benefit of all. 

As the intergovernmental body exclusively devoted to decolonization, the Special Committee is expected to devise fresh and creative approaches to mobilize the political will to advance its agenda.

As we know, the world is in a great transition.  Many old structures are breaking down.  New arrangements are taking shape.

In the area of decolonization, 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories require our attention.

As we look ahead, the narrative cannot again be portrayed as “decolonization deferred”.

We no longer have the luxury of indulging in rhetoric and rituals.

Concrete action and tangible results are essential.

It is time for a new kind of fully inclusive dialogue about decolonization.

The risk of movement, while sometimes frightening, is far more preferable to the stagnation of the status quo.

As you begin your work, I assure you that the Secretariat will continue to provide the necessary assistance to the Special Committee.

I wish you every possible success in your efforts. 

Thank you.


Statements on 21 February 2013