18 February 2021

Affordable Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Key for Helping Non-Self-Governing Territories Achieve Sustainable Development, Secretary-General Tells Decolonization Committee

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message, as delivered by Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, to the organizational meeting of the 2021 session of the Special Committee on Decolonization, today:

I am pleased to greet the Special Committee at the beginning of its 2021 session.

At the outset, I wish to express my solidarity with all those affected by the pandemic, including in the Non-Self-Governing Territories.  The specific challenges of sustainable development that these Territories face have now been compounded by the health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19.

Addressing these impacts requires improved global cooperation and solidarity.  That requires vaccine equity — ensuring that the vaccines are affordable and accessible to all.  Vaccine nationalism is self-defeating and will only delay global recovery.  Together, we must keep our promise to leave no one behind.

This session marks the beginning of the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.  December 2020 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the Declaration on Decolonization.  The Committee has continued its efforts to implement the Declaration.

The Committee has also improved its working methods, adjusting its programme of work to better inform its deliberations and decision-making.  The Committee is further determined to strengthen informal dialogues with the administering Powers and other stakeholders.  A constructive relationship with all involved is indispensable for the advancement of the decolonization process, on a case-by-case basis.

Expediting the process of decolonization must be seen as an imperative.  Together let us commit to engage in new dynamics to address the challenges ahead in a pragmatic manner, in line with the Charter and relevant resolutions of the United Nations.

I wish you every success in your important work.

For information media. Not an official record.