In 1960, during the decolonization process, the General Assembly adopted the landmark Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. The Declaration reaffirmed the right of all peoples to self-determination and proclaimed the need for the speedy and unconditional eradication of colonialism. Two years later, the Special Committee on Decolonization was established to monitor the implementation of the Declaration.
In 1990, the Assembly proclaimed the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (1990-2000), which included a concrete plan of action. In 2001, the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism had been proclaimed, the end of which coincided with the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. At the same time, the General Assembly declared the period from 2011 to 2020 the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.
In 2020, the General Assembly adopted resolution 75/123, declaring the period 2021-2030 the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.
Since the establishment of the United Nations, 80 former colonies have gained independence. This includes all 11 Trust Territories that have achieved self-determination through independence or free association with an independent State. The Special Committee continues to monitor the situation in the remaining 17 Territories with a view to contributing to their decolonization.
United Nations on Decolonization
In 1945, when the United Nations was founded, some 750 million people lived in colonial-dependent territories, accounting for almost a third of the world's population. Today, there were fewer than 2 million people living in 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories. The wave of decolonization that began with the advent of the United Nations changed the face of the planet and was the first grand success of the Organization.
As a result of decolonization, many territories gained independence and became members of the UN.
In accordance with the UN Charter, the International Trusteeship System was established. Reaffirming the principle of self-determination, the Charter described the responsibility of States for territories under their administration as a "sacred duty" in the exercise of which the interests of the populations of such Territories were of paramount importance.