The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples today approved Grenada as the host of its 2018 Pacific Regional Seminar, to be held from 9 to 11 May.
Addressing the Committee, the Chair said bureau members had expressed strong support for Grenada’s offer to host the seminar. As host of the Seminar in 2007, the island had clearly demonstrated the importance it attached to the Committee’s work. While the bureau had proposed to hold its Regional Seminars around the third week of May to coincide with the annual Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories, the Government of Grenada, due to conflicting engagements, had suggested the seminar take place from 9 to 11 May.
Expressing gratitude for having been selected, the representative of Grenada said she looked forward to working with the Bureau and hoped the meetings would facilitate cooperation and discussion. The Committee’s work held significance to people around the world, including Grenada, as it had travelled before along the path of decolonization, she said.
Several representatives thanked Grenada for hosting the upcoming seminar and underscored the timeliness and relevance of this year’s theme: “Implementation of the third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism: towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Non-Self-Governing Territories: social, economic and environmental challenges”.
Highlighting the importance of access to natural resources, Ecuador’s representative said that theme was important because environmental independence was needed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Venezuela’s representative also pointed to the challenges that some Territories faced in carrying out those goals without their independence.
The representative of Papua New Guinea expressed regret that the Pacific region had been unable to host this year’s Seminar and hope that it could do so in the future. Likewise, Fiji’s delegate said that, while he regretted his country was unable to host the upcoming Seminar, it was a blessing in disguise, since it had recently been hit with a severe tropical cyclone.
The Committee approved the guidelines and rules of procedure of the seminar (document A/AC.109/2018/19), as well as the composition of the Special Committee delegation to the Seminar. The latter would comprise the Chair, the adviser, Bureau members and representatives of the four regional groups — for a total of 10 Committee members.
Meanwhile, the Chair and Bureau would finalize the list of experts and non‑governmental organization representatives to be invited to the seminar. Invitations would also be extended to the administering Powers and other Member States, United Nations specialized agencies, and some regional organizations.
Nicaragua’s representative stressed the need to issue invitations to non‑self-governing Territories without delay to ensure that as many as possible could attend. Chile’s delegate expressed hope that all documents from the Seminar would be available in all official languages of the United Nations.
In other matters, several representatives took note of the Committee’s recent special mission to New Caledonia, which Cuba’s delegate said had fully met the Committee’s objectives. Describing the visit as a success, he noted that the report of that mission would be ready at the end of the June.
The Special Committee will meet again at a date and time to be announced.