Bandung, Indonesia

14 May 2008

The Secretary-General's Message on the Occasion of the Opening of the Pacific Regional Seminar on Decolonization and the Observance of the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories

I am pleased to send greetings to all who have gathered in Bandung, Indonesia, for the Pacific Regional Seminar on decolonization. Let me thank the Government of Indonesia for hosting this event, and for convening its opening session in the same hall where the historic Asian-African Conference took place in 1955.

Decolonization is one of the great success stories of the United Nations. But as the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism draws to a close, sixteen remaining non-self-governing Territories highlight the fact that this monumental task is as yet incomplete. It falls to the United Nations, and to all of us as members of the international community, to help bring this process to a successful conclusion.

This year's Seminar focuses on the Pacific-based territories and on priorities for the remainder of the Second International Decade. It provides an opportunity to evaluate our progress under the United Nations' decolonization mandate. It enables the General Assembly's Special Committee on Decolonization, the territorial Governments and the administering Powers to listen to one another, to exchange ideas and to hear the views of participating experts and NGOs. More broadly, this forum can facilitate open dialogue, produce fresh ideas to help move the decolonization process forward, and help raise the awareness of the international community on this important issue.

Colonialism has no place in today's world. I therefore urge all administering Powers to actively engage with the United Nations in discharging the UN mandate on decolonization. And I encourage all parties to continue working together to complete the decolonization process in every one of the remaining sixteen non-self-governing Territories.

In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful Seminar.