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UN Documentation: Decolonization

Overview of UN Bodies on Decolonization

The General Assembly is the main body with oversight on matters relating to decolonization.

Fourth Committee

Top: UN Photo #279367: Chairman of Fourth Committee; Middle: UN Photo #611086: Assembly’s Fourth Committee Begins Consideration of UNRWA’s Work; Bottom: UN Photo #263749: Fourth Committee Hears Petitioner on Question of Namibia Continues Debate on DecolonizationThe Fourth Committee, one of the six Main Committees of the General Assembly, is allocated agenda items related to special political and decolonization matters, including peacekeeping.

  • Document series symbol for working documents
  • Summary records
  • Press release series symbol

The Fourth Committee submits a separate report to the plenary on every agenda item allocated to it, including the item "comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations".

Each report:

  • indicates the meetings at which the item was considered
  • summarizes the committee's consideration of the item
  • identifies the sponsors of draft resolutions
  • reports the vote, if any, of Member States on draft texts
  • transmits the final version of draft resolutions and/or decisions recommended to the plenary for adoption
  • symbol pattern

The plenary considers each report and votes on the draft resolutions or decisions it contains.

For example, the General Assembly adopted resolution 70/92 based on the report of the Fourth Committee (A/70/499).

Historical note

Prior to the 48th session (1993), the Fourth Committee handled only decolonization questions. An additional Main Committee, the Special Political Committee (SPC), handled political questions.

  • symbol pattern: A/SPC/-
  • press release series symbol: GA/SPC/-

Until 1993, the SPC was listed in UN documents and publications after the First Committee. When the SPC and the Fourth Committee merged in accordance with General Assembly resolution 47/233, the Fourth Committee moved to the second spot. Today, in some publications such as the Journal, the order of the Committees is: First, Fourth, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth.