the term used in the Charter of the United Nations to define all colonial and other dependent territories with the exception of trust territories, for which the trusteeship system has been created. The status of a non-self-governing territory is set down in Chapter XI of the UN Charter, which contains the Declaration Regarding Non-self-governing Territories.
According to the Charter, the UN members that bear or accept responsibility for governing non-self-governing territories thereby obligate themselves to promote the well-being of the population of these territories; secure their economic, political, and social progress; develop self-government; and regularly submit to the secretary-general of the UN information on the situation in these non-self-governing territories. The Department of Political Affairs, Trusteeship, and Decolonization exists within the UN Secretariat to study the situation in the non-self-governing territories. The principal UN agency with the responsibility to search for the best ways and means of eliminating colonial regimes in non-self-governing territories is a special committee set up to oversee implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, which was adopted by the 15th session of the General Assembly (1960).
Since the founding of the United Nations, most of the non-self-governing territories have achieved independence. The colonial powers have frequently resisted the aspirations of peoples in the non-self-governing territories toward freedom and independence.