An autonomous administrative division is an administrative division of a country that has a degree of autonomy, or freedom from an external authority. Typically it is either geographically distinct from the rest of the country or populated by a national minority. Decentralization of self-governing powers and functions to such divisions is a way for a national government to try to increase democratic participation or administrative efficiency and/or to defuse internal conflicts. Countries that include autonomous areas may be federacies, federations, or confederations. Autonomous areas can be divided into territorial autonomies, subregional territorial autonomies, and local autonomies.
In 2008, the Republic of Kosovo declared independence. While Serbia has not formally recognised Kosovo's independence and still has an administrative apparatus for the Autonomous Province, its independence is recognised by 108 UN member states.
In 1990, the Republic of Abkhazia declared its independence from the Soviet Union. While Georgia has not formally recognised Abkhazia's independence and still has an administrative apparatus for the Autonomous Province, its independence is recognized by 6 UN member states.
New Zealand maintains nominal sovereignty over three Pacific Island nations. The Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing countries in free association with New Zealand that maintain some international relationships in their own name. Tokelau remains an autonomous dependency of New Zealand. The Chatham Islands—despite having the designation of Territory—is an integral part of the country, situated within the New Zealand archipelago. The territory's council is not autonomous and has broadly the same powers as other local councils, although notably it can also charge levies on goods entering or leaving the islands.
In Ethiopia, "special woredas" are a subgroup of woredas (districts) that are organized around the traditional homelands of an ethnic minority, and are outside the usual hierarchy of a kilil, or region. These woredas have many similarities to autonomous areas in other countries.
The French constitution recognises 3 autonomous jurisdictions. As a Territorial collectivityCorsica enjoys more autonomy on such things as tax and education than mainland regions. New Caledonia and French Polynesia are highly autonomous territories with their own government, currency and constitution. They do not however have legislative powers for policy areas relating to law and order, defense, border control or university education. French Guiana, Guadaloupe, Martinique and Reunion also enjoy a certain level of autonomy with certain legislative power for devolved areas but they do not have their own currency. Other smaller overseas possessions also enjoy similar status.