The Western European and other States Group (WEOG) is pleased to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
The end of colonialism and the access to independence are among the most significant evolutions that have shaped the world in which we live today. Our vision of the planet was enriched as we began to take into consideration other voices.
This has also changed our work at the United Nations. 51 countries founded this Organization in 1945. They were 99 on December 14, 1960 when the Resolution 1514 was voted. I have the honour to speak today in front of 192 representatives. Their variety gives the United Nations this special texture of a mosaic of peoples, a characteristic that makes our Organization and, particularly, the General Assembly a unique entity in which all members are equally represented.
Although historically there have been several waves of emancipation throughout the world, some of them before the Declaration of 1960, it is this text, which we are celebrating today, that best encapsulates this movement.
In 1999, we witnessed Timor-Leste’s successful quest for independence. Today, 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories remain on the UN list. It is essential for the peoples concerned to understand the options regarding their political status and to be able to exercise their right to freely choose their future.
In working towards this end, we should not lose sight that the world has dramatically changed in the last 50 years. It has become increasingly interdependent and complex. In this globalized world, the hopes of the people have evolved too. Fight against climate change, sustainable development, eradication of poverty, gender equality, access to education and knowledge are some of the challenges that lie ahead of us.
Political freedom cannot be addressed independently from these issues, which have a direct impact in people’s lives. In this context, we must undertake fresh and creative efforts to match individual and collective expectations.
We remain committed to achieving the goals set in the Declaration.
We have started a new decade, and we look forward to working with all relevant actors concerned by the decolonization process to find creative ways to move forward.
The WEOG States, a regional group made up of countries with developed economies, will be able, I am certain, to play their part in meeting the challenge.