Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, as delivered by Josiane Ambiehl, Chief of the Decolonization Unit, Department of Political Affairs, for the opening session of the Caribbean Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism: the United Nations at 70 — taking stock of the decolonization agenda, in Managua today:
It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to all the participants gathered in Managua for the Caribbean Regional Seminar on Decolonization. I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Government and people of Nicaragua for their generous hospitality in hosting this important event to take stock of the decolonization agenda on the occasion of the United Nations seventieth anniversary.
In celebrating this milestone, we also mark 70 years in advancing the decolonization agenda. Since the founding of the Organization in 1945, more than 80 nations that had been under colonial rule, with 750 million inhabitants, have joined the United Nations as sovereign States. In 1946, there were 72 Territories on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories administered by eight Member States. Today, 17 Territories, with a total population of 1.6 million people, and administered by four administering Powers, remain on the list. Much has been achieved, yet we have not completed the task of decolonization or reached the goal of eradicating colonialism.
The fulfilment of the objectives of the third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism is a common endeavour for all concerned — the Non-Self-Governing Territories, the administering Powers and other stakeholders in the decolonization process. This requires their constructive engagement, sustained efforts and political will, with the support of the Special Committee on Decolonization. The international community has an obligation to ensure that a full measure of self-Government is achieved in the remaining Territories, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and relevant United Nations resolutions.
In recent years, it has been encouraging to witness the signs of rejuvenation in the work of the Special Committee. Partnership between the administering Powers and the Special Committee is increasing. I thank the current Chair of the Committee for his dedicated efforts in this regard.
This Seminar provides opportunities for the Special Committee to engage with all involved, along with experts and members of civil society, on the situation of the individual Territories and issues of concern to the Territories. This is also an occasion for all participants to present their recommendations to the Special Committee so as to assist this body in considering its way forward in completing the decolonization processes for each Territory as mandated by the General Assembly.
In addition to the United Nations seventieth anniversary, this year also marks the midpoint of the third International Decade. At this juncture, I urge all participants in this seminar to identify concrete and implementable steps that could help us reach the noble goal of the eradication of colonialism before the end of the International Decade in 2020. As Secretary-General, I stand ready to assist you in the remaining part of this journey. In that spirit of partnership, I wish you a productive and successful Seminar.