I am pleased to greet the participants of 2011 Caribbean Regional Seminar on decolonization as you launch the work of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, starting this year. I thank the Government and people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for hosting this event.
The international community recently marked the 50th anniversary of the General Assembly's Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and completed the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. While Timor-Leste successfully gained independence during that period, 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories remain to be decolonized.
This seminar is intended to explore how the Special Committee can further the objectives of the United Nations. Direct communication among the Special Committee, the elected representatives of the Territories and the administering Powers is essential for progress. I encourage the Special Committee to work towards an action-oriented dialogue at all levels.
I look forward to working with you to accelerate the process of decolonization where possible. Please accept my best wishes for a productive and successful seminar.