World Facts

Non-Self-Governing Territories of the World

According to the United Nations system, a non-self-governing territory refers to a territory whose people are yet to attain the full measure of self-government.

Non-self governing territories are territories that are governed by another country and are rarely allowed representations in the governing country’s legislature. According to the United Nations system, the term is used to refer territories whose people are yet to attain the full measure of self-government. Most of these territories are subject to the decolonization process. Chapter 6 of the UN Charter declares that the interests of the people within the non-self governing territories are paramount, with the state in charge of the territory required to submit an annual report on the development of the territory.

Non-Self-Governing Territories by Country

The United Kingdom

The UK is in-charge of nine non-self governing territories in Africa, Europe, South America, Oceania, and North America.

In Africa, the UK is in charge of the Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha territory. It is situated in South Atlantic and consists of two islands, Saint Helena and Ascension Island, and the Tristan da Cunha archipelago. It covers an area of approximately 120 square miles and has a population of about 5,400 people.

In Europe, the UK is in-charge of the territory of Gibraltar which is also claimed by Spain. The territory is located on the southern Iberian Peninsula, sharing its border with Spain. Gibraltar covers an area of about 2.6 square miles and is home to over 20,000 people.

In South America, the Falkland Island is under the administration of the UK. The 4,700 square mile island is also claimed by Argentina. It comprises of the East and West Falklands and about 776 smaller islands.

The UK administers six non-self governing territories in North America including Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Island, Cayman Island, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Island. None of the territories are disputed by any country.

The country is also in-charge of the Pitcairn Island which is located in the Oceania.

The United States

The US administers three territories, two in Oceania and one in North America.

The unorganized non-self governing the territory of American Samoa is the smallest territory administered by the US. It covers an area of approximately 77 square miles and has a population of about 55,500 people. Guam, also in the Oceania, is administered by the US. It is an unincorporated organized territory with a population over 150,000 people.

The United States Virgin Island is also an unincorporated and organized territory of the US. The island has an area of approximately 136 square miles and a population of 106,000 people.

France

France is in charge of two non-self governing territories, both in the Oceania. The two territories are French Polynesia and New Caledonia. They are some of the largest and most populated non-self governing territories with a combined population of over 500,000 people.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s territory of Tokelau is a non-self governing territory located in the Southern Pacific Ocean. It occupies an area of about 5 square miles and a population of about 1,600 people.

Becoming a Territory

A list of the non-self governing territories has been maintained by the General Assembly since 1946. Currently, there are 17 non-self governing territories spread across all the continents except Asia. The territories are administered mainly by the UK, the US, France, New Zealand, and Morocco. A territory can be removed from the list when it attains independence or is granted internal self-rule. Other territories can also be added to the list if the administering joins the UN or if the General Assembly reassesses the status of a territory

Non-Self-Governing Territories of the World

RankNameAdministering State
1Western SaharaMorocco
2Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaUnited Kingdom
3GibraltarUnited Kingdom
4Falkland IslandsUnited Kingdom
5AnguillaUnited Kingdom
6BermudaUnited Kingdom
7British Virgin IslandsUnited Kingdom
8Cayman IslandsUnited Kingdom
9MontserratUnited Kingdom
10Turks and Caicos IslandsUnited Kingdom
11Pitcairn IslandsNew Zealand
12TokelauNew Zealand
13French PolynesiaFrance
14New CaledoniaFrance
15American SomaUnited States
16Guam United States
17U.S. Virgin IslandsUnited States

More in World Facts