Cabo Verde: President calls on UN to give more attention to small island states

The President of Cabo Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, has said that the archipelago’s “first priority” is to “combat” the pandemic and called for more attention to the problems of small island states.

“The vaccination rate has reached 74% of the population with at least one dose, our goal is to reach 85% fully immunized by the end of October,” he said, while speaking at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

“This success would not have been possible without the perseverance and determination that characterise the Cape Verdean leaders and people, as well as the strengthening of global solidarity of all partners, namely Covax. We would like to thank them all”, he said.

At the same time, he acknowledged, economic recovery remained a priority, “mainly through the recovery of the tourism sector and related economies”.

According to the president, Cabo Verde “has all the characteristics” of a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), namely “the physical size and dispersal in islands, immersion in large oceanic spaces and distance from major markets,” which “weaken its economic base, accentuate its exposure to climate change and other environmental phenomena such as drought”.

“Within this framework, the manifestations and impact of Covid-19 have only exacerbated pre-existing conditions, making SIDS the most affected by the pandemic,” he emphasised. 

“SIDS’ problems, challenges and solutions, should be present at the Future Summit announced by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. We have the opportunity to take decisions that will meet the legitimate interests and aspirations of this group of countries, among the most vulnerable of the UN family, leaving none behind”.

In what was his last annual message to the organisation’s General Assembly, in light of presidential elections to be held in Cape Verde in October – for which he is no longer running – Jorge Carlos Fonseca once again insisted on a reform of the UN Security Council.

“We also believe that the revitalisation of the UN requires a reform of the Security Council to give member states a greater say in decisions relating to international peace and security. As a member of the African Union, Cabo Verde fully endorses the Ezulwini consensus,” he said.