United Nations Trusteeship Council

Conseil de tutelle des Nations Unies
Consejo de Administración Fiduciaria de las Naciones Unidas

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under Chapter XIII of the Charter of the United Nations, as a principal organ of United Nations (UN) within the United Nations System; Member States administering Trust Territories are accountable to the United Nations for the discharge of their responsibilities and obligations in the administration of the Territories. On 28 May 1986, referring to the last of the 11 Trust Territories originally placed under the International Trusteeship System - Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (a strategic area in accordance with Article 83 of the United Nations Charter) administered by the USA, the Council considered - resolution 2183 (LIII) - that the Administering Authority had satisfactorily discharged its obligations under the Trusteeship Agreement and that it was appropriate for that agreement to be terminated. It also requested the Administering Authority to agree to a date for the full entry into force of the Compacts of Free Association and the Commonwealth Covenant. Subsequently, the USA informed the Secretary-General that the Compact of Free Association with the Marshall Islands would enter into force on 21 Oct 1986 and the Compact of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Commonwealth Covenant with the Northern Mariana Islands on 3 Nov 1986.

By its resolutions 683 (1990) adopted 22 Dec 1990, the Security Council determined that, in the light of the entry of the new status agreements for the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands, the objectives of the Trusteeship Agreement had been fully attained, and the applicability of the Trusteeship Agreement had terminated, with respect to those entities. Palau, therefore, remained the only entity under the 1947 Trusteeship Agreement. The Security Council expressed the hope that the people of Palau would be able in due course to complete the process of freely exercising their right to self-determination and the Trusteeship Council continued to review the situation in Palau at its regular annual sessions.

At its 57 session, May 1990, the Trusteeship Council noted that the Compact of Free Association did not obtain the 75% majority necessary for ratification at the plebiscite held in Palau on 6 Feb 1990; and the statement of the representative of the Government of Palau in the Trusteeship Council, 21 May 1990, that the leadership of Palau was currently reviewing possible options with respect to the resolution of Palau's future political status. On 4 Nov 1992, Palau held a Constitutional amendment referendum and changed to simple majority (50 plus 1%), the approval requirement for the Compact of Free Association. Thereafter, the 8th plebiscite was held on 9 Nov 1993 and the Compact was approved by 68% voting in favour and 32% voting against. In Jan 1994, at the end of the 60th session of the Trusteeship Council, USA informed the Council that its Government and the Government of Palau intended to implement the Compact of Free Association as quickly as practicable. Planning for the smooth transition to Palau's new status was thus underway.

In May 1994, at its 61st session, the Council considered the annual report of the Administering Authority and made recommendations to the Security Council on the future status of the Territory. It adopted the report of the drafting committee (comprising representatives of China, France, Russia and UK) that the Trusteeship Council welcomed the holding of a plebiscite in Palau and its result and congratulated the people of Palau. The Council expressed the hope that, in the near future, the Administering Authority would take up the matter of the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement with the Security Council, in accordance with Article 83 of the Charter of the United Nations. At the same session, by adopting resolution 2199 (LXI) entitled Attainment of self-government of independence by Trust Territories, the Council, 'inter alia', requested USA, in consultation with the Government of Palau, to agree on a date for the full entry into force of the Compact of Free Association, and to inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations of that date. The Council considered that USA had satisfactorily discharged its obligations under the terms of the Trusteeship Agreement to be terminated with effect from the date referred to above, as agreed upon by the two Governments.

With the independence of Palau, the last remaining United Nations trust territory, the Council formally suspended operation on 1 Nov 1994. By a resolution adopted on that day, it amended its rules of procedure to drop the obligation to meet annually and agreed to meet as occasion required - by its decision or the decision of its President, or at the request of a majority of its members or the General Assembly or the Security Council. Suspended operations on 1 Nov 1994.


'Non-Self-Governing Territories' A declaration on all non-self-governing Territories forms part of the United Nations Charter, and through it the Members of the United Nations accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote the wellbeing and advancement of dependent peoples and their progressive development towards self-government, to ensure their just treatment and protection against abuse, to promote international peace and security, and to promote development measures and encourage research. The States administering colonies and other dependencies are requested to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General statistical and other information on economic, social and educational conditions in the territories which they administer.

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The Trusteeship Council, in supervising the administration of the Trust Territories on behalf of the General Assembly, or, in the case of the strategic area, on behalf of the Security Council, examines the annual reports submitted by the Administering Authorities. It also examines petitions affecting the Trust Territories, reports of visiting missions, and observations on conditions in the Territories which may have been submitted by specialized agencies, and which are within their sphere of competence.


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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 1 non-governmental organizations.
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Members in 5 countries
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Subjects *

  • Commerce
    • Finance
  • International Relations
    • United Nations

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