The Trusteeship Council was set up as one of the main organs of the United Nations. Its objective was to administer and support the transition to independence and self-governance of the colonies held by the Axis Powers from World War II, as well as the territories mandated by the League of Nations. The Trusteeship Council has completed its mission, but continues to exist on paper, under the UN Charter, chapter XII. Its future role remains, however, uncertain.
The Trust Territories
When the UN was founded there were parts of the world without a functioning government. Some of these territories had been occupied under World War I, whereas others were detached from the nations defeated at the end of World War II. These territories were placed under the trusteeship of the United Nations.
From the beginning there were eleven trust territories, most of them in Africa and the Pacific. Today they have all attained self-governance, the last one being Palau in 1994, a group of islands in the Pacific administered by the United States. Palau became the 185th member of the UN and after that the Council suspended its activities.
The Trusteeship Council consists of the five permanent members of the Security Council:
- Russian Federation
- United Kingdom
- United States.
The Trusteeship Council no longer has a secretariat, and, through an amendment to the Rules of Procedure, it is no longer obliged to meet annually. It may, however, meet as the occasion requires.
When debating the reform of the United Nations, the question of the future prospects for the Trusteeship Council is included.
More on the Trusteeship
- Background information is posted at the website of the Trusteeship Council.
- Information about Trusteeship Council actions in a given year with references to essential documents can be accessed through the Yearbook of the United Nations.
- The official documentation in print from the Trusteeship Council is contained in the documentary series Trusteeship Council. Official Records. 1st session (1947) - 60th session (1994). Supplements.
- The Index to Proceedings of the Trusteeship Council is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the Trusteeship Council prepared by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, New York.
- Global Issues page:
- The UNA Sweden website offers a brief introduction to the Trusteeship Council in Swedish.