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Urgency Of Approaching Sustainable Development Deadline Addressed by UN Seminar

The United Nations Pacific Regional Seminar ended on Friday, May 26, after three days of discussions regarding the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals in Non-Self-Governing Territories. A 29-member body, the Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24), united in Bali, Indonesia, on May 24 to start talks. 

“Today, 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories remain under the purview of the Special Committee. Our shared goal is to give greater priority to the decolonization agenda and spur accelerated action,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his opening remarks. “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the path to peace and prosperity for all on a healthy planet.”

With seven years left before the UN’s 2030 deadline, there was a particularly urgent tone to this year’s conference. International attention to the SDGs lacks the energy, enthusiasm, and steam to make the deadline. 

C-24’s chair highlighted the importance of innovative ideas and collaboration from the international community to make up for the Covid-19 pandemic’s “unprecedented” detrimental effects on progress thus far, stressing the already “extremely fragile economies of the small island Territories.” 

According to UN coverage, on the first day of the seminar, they facilitated conversations about Venezuela’s offer to host the following 2024 seminar, political developments in the Pacific and the Caribbean, problems impeding the achievement of SDG, and recommendations for strengthening “resilience” in the Territories. 

The second day brought a more dissonant dialogue. Contributors expressed various points of view regarding the “self-determination and territorial integrity” of the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, and Western Sahara. 

Representatives of the Falkland Islands condemned the Special Committee for a lack of action. The United Nations press release reported that former Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly member, John Birmingham, stated: “If the Committee wishes to be seen less as a talk shop, and restore credibility, then it should visit and learn about its Territories more.” Additionally, Gibraltar maintained its stance on self-determination and emphasized its objection to UK-Spain conversations about sovereignty. 

There was also significant disagreement on the legitimacy of the representation of Western Sahara, with Bahiya Ghalla and Sidi Mohamed Omar each communicating opposing points of view. Omar, the representative of the Frente POLISARIO, condemned illegal Moroccan occupation, while Ghalla, “who described herself as representing the population by being democratically elected as Vice-Chair of the Regional Council,” held on Morocco’s sovereignty of the Territory and denied claims of military occupation. 

The conference closed on the third day with the consolidation of documents and resolutions, as well as remarks from the Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister. “There is no one-size-fits-all formula,” he echoed.

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Tags: #unitednations #sustainability #decolonization


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