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Support for ‘Green’ Transition Can Ease Non-Self-Governing Territories’ Emergence from Pandemic, Secretary-General Tells Pacific Seminar on Decolonization

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the opening of the 2022 Regional Seminar of the Special Committee on Decolonization, held in Castries, Saint Lucia, from 11 to 13 May:

I send my greetings to the Regional Seminar of the “C-24” — the Special Committee on Decolonization.  I thank the Government and people of Saint Lucia for hosting it.

Coming from a former colonial Power, I sadly know that a straight line can be drawn from yesterday’s conquests and today’s challenges faced by Non-Self-Governing Territories.  Those diverse challenges — which are unique to each Territory — are compounded by COVID-19.

These Territories are particularly vulnerable because of persistent challenges that predate the pandemic.  Stretched health systems, economic woes, and of course, the real-time devastation of climate change, especially rising sea levels.  As a global community, we must build avenues of support for these Territories to invest in sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic — this year’s theme.

We need concrete ideas to help them move forward.  This includes efforts to strengthen health systems and response capacities in the face of future pandemics.  It also includes continuing to support all economic recovery efforts as these Territories emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.  And it includes real, tangible support to help them transition to green economies.

This year’s Seminar is a critical step in making progress on the decolonization agenda and preparing for C-24’s substantive session next month.  I wish you a productive Seminar.

For information media. Not an official record.