The consequences of colonialism are “still being felt to this day”, the UN Chef de Cabinet, Courtenay Rattray, told the Special Committee on Decolonisation on Friday.
Speaking on behalf of Secretary-General António Guterres, he also reminded the participants of the challenges which face the so-called Non-Self-Governing Territories which remain around the world.
“Global cooperation is central to addressing its impacts”, he underscored, urging the Committee, also known as C-24, to “commit to making 2022 a year of recovery for everyone”.
The Special Committee is “a unique platform to promote the implementation of the Declaration on Decolonisation”, in accordance with all relevant resolutions, the senior UN official said.
In 2021, the C-24 made every effort for the territories and others to engage and be heard.
He drew attention to new working methods, that allow the Committee to hear first from the territories before considering related resolutions.
The C-24 remains committed to fulfilling its mandate, Rattray assured.
He described transparent and constructive dialogue as “pivotal” in opening further opportunities which could see progress towards full decolonisation.
Guided by the UN Charter and relevant resolutions, “the Secretariat will continue to support the Special Committee in its work to promote decolonization,” the Chef de Cabinet said.
Also speaking, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, pointed out that the “health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19” had served to compound the development challenges that territories have long faced.
“Addressing these impacts requires improved global cooperation and solidarity”, including vaccine equity to enable COVID inoculations that are affordable and accessible to all,’’ she said
“Vaccinationalism is self-defeating and will only delay global recovery,” DiCarlo said, encouraging countries to stick to the commitment to leave no-one behind.
This session marks the beginning of the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and December 2020 marked the 60th anniversary of the Decolonisation Declaration.
The Committee continues its efforts to implement the Declaration and is further determined to strengthen informal dialogues with “administering powers” – the countries which continue to hold or claim sovereignty over territories – and other stakeholders, according to the UN political chief.
“A constructive relationship with all involved is indispensable for the advancement of the decolonisation process, on a case-by-case basis,’’ she said.
DiCarlo stressed that expediting the decolonisation process is “imperative” and urged everyone to “engage in new dynamics” to address the challenges ahead.
Since the birth of the United Nations, more than 80 former colonies comprising some 750 million people have gained independence.
As 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories (NSGTs) remain – or nearly two million people – the process of decolonisation continues.
Completing this mandate will require continuing dialogue among the administering powers, the 29 different nations that make up the Special Committee, and the Non-Self-Governing Territories.