United Nations and Decolonization: Past to Present

Since the United Nations was established in 1945, more than 80 former colonies have gained their independence. Today, the United Nations assists 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories across the globe. The Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs supports the work of the General Assembly, particularly its Special Committee on Decolonization, in the eradication of colonialism.





Since the birth of the United Nations, more than 80 former colonies comprising some 750 million people have gained independence. At present, 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories (NSGTs) across the globe remain on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, home to nearly 2 million people. Thus, the process of decolonization is not complete.

Completing this mandate will require a continuing dialogue among the administering Powers, the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples (also known as the "Special Committee on Decolonization" or the "C-24") and the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions on decolonization.

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Latest developments

In the Spotlight

“by strengthening dialogue and cooperation among
all stakeholders, in particular between the Territories
and the administering Powers, and by continuing to
devise creative and practical proposals, the C-24
could achieve concrete outcomes.“

C-24 Chair
at the Fourth Committee meeting

9 October 2020

Secretary-General's message

"This year marks the last year of the Third International Decade to Eradicate Colonialism.This milestone is an important opportunity to take stock of our progress. I will remain alongside you as you make another push to eradicate colonialism once and for all."

Secretary-General's remarks at
the Special Committee on Decolonization
21 February 2020