New York

25 February 2016

Secretary-General's message to the Opening of the 2016 Session of the Special Committee on Decolonization [delivered by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun]

I am pleased to send warm greetings to all participants at this session of the Special Committee on Decolonization. I commend the leadership of all those committed to bringing new energy to its work.

Successive General Assembly resolutions reflect the longstanding resolve of the United Nations to end colonialism. This urgent priority demands prompt action.

Our efforts to realize the goals of the Third Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism must shift more toward implementation. I encourage the Special Committee, administering Powers, Non-Self-Governing Territories and other stakeholders to do their part to advance progress.

We must do better, focusing on carrying out the actions approved by the General Assembly. The international community has the means to eradicate colonialism. We see the international commitment to advance the decolonization agenda in the fact that the Special Committee has undertaken to dispatch one visiting mission to a Non-Self Governing Territory every year. These visiting missions will help enhance the Special Committee’s capacity to fulfil its mandate.

Last year, in my report to the General Assembly, I reiterated my call to renew our efforts on decolonization. I also called for attention to accomplishing concrete results. The Special Committee is a prime mover in this undertaking.

I encourage you to intensify action-oriented dialogue to generate further momentum to fulfil the decolonization mandate. All of us must seize the opportunities at hand.

I thank the Special Committee and encourage its renewed vigour and creativity. Our dedicated Secretariat stands ready to continue assisting in this effort.

Let us advance together based on the fundamental and universal principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.