SAINT GEORGE'S, Grenada, 11 May – The Pacific Regional Seminar on Decolonization concluded in Grenada today, with participants stressing that joint action would be required to address the challenges facing Non-Self-Governing Territories, especially in light of their vulnerability to natural disasters and environmental degradation.
A number of important issues and emerging challenges had been addressed during the three-day event, with a view to moving the decolonization process forward, said Keisha McGuire (Grenada), delivering a statement on behalf of Walton Alfonso Webson (Antigua and Barbuda), Chair of the Special Committee on Decolonization. “We discussed the opportunities that can be explored when addressing these cross-cutting challenges,” she added, pointing out that participants had stressed the crucial importance of the Territories achieving the objectives laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She also noted the central role played by specialized agencies and other entities of the United Nations in providing assistance to the Territories.
Alva Browne, Permanent Secretary at Grenada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Seminar had provided an important reminder that the regional approach was the best way to address the contemporary colonial dynamic and bring the unique regional experience to the forefront. It must be acknowledged that the decolonization process had significantly slowed and had suddenly become more complex, he said, adding that the Seminar had provided practical recommendations that should inform deliberations during the Special Committee’s substantive session in June.
The theme for the just-concluded Seminar was “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”.
Discussions centred on the 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories remaining on the Special Committee’s list: American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas)*, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Guam, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands and Western Sahara.
During the final meeting, the Special Committee adopted a draft procedural report on the Seminar (document CRS/2018/CRP.19/Rev.1). It also approved a resolution (document CRS/2018/CRP.18) expressing appreciation to the Government and people of Grenada for having hosted the Seminar.
* A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).