JOSÉ MARIA PEREIRA NEVES, President of Cabo Verde, said his country encompasses the inhabitants of 10 islands, as well as an immense diaspora, representing the eleventh island scattered throughout the four corners of the world. As an active and useful Member State, Cabo Verde will champion multilateralism to advance the progress and well-being of humanity. Small island developing States face structural limitations, such as geographical remoteness; dependence on imports and high costs; and vulnerability to external shocks, whether climate, economic, pandemics or geopolitical conflicts. In the past 15 years, Cabo Verde weathered the 2007-2008 financial crisis just as it graduated from the list of least developed countries. The COVID-19 pandemic then caused a recession in 2020 of 14.6 per cent, he said.
Yet like other small island developing States, Cabo Verde aims to become a small island developed State and must progressively overcome its vulnerabilities and increase its resilience. For this, it needs to count on external sustainable financing. “Although this is not a new narrative, it is, nevertheless urgent that it be implemented,” he said, noting there are less than eight years remaining to achieve the 2030 Agenda targets. Cabo Verde has applied to host, in 2023, the regional preparatory meeting of the small island developing region of the Atlantic and India oceans and the South China Sea, to which it belongs. It is prepared to support the process through the general conference’s conclusion in 2024. He welcomed the Assembly President’s decision to establish a United Nations High-Level expert panel to conduct work that would lead to the use of a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index, inside and outside the United Nations.
Since 2015, Africa's cultural, natural, material and immaterial heritage has been celebrated around the world to raise awareness of the importance of its preservation. For the year 2021, the African Union proposed the theme “Arts, Culture, and Heritage: Levers to Build the Africa We Want.” He advocated investing in the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of Africa and reflect on the best ways to promote climate justice and equity in Africa, and for Africa.
Referring to the worldwide movement of Creolization and Creole cultures as World Heritage, he said he had accepted the role of sponsor and spokesperson. Cabo Verde is the first Creole society in the world. This is a civil society-led initiative, which wants Creole countries to use one voice to promote their intangible heritage as well as peace, friendship between peoples, and development cooperation. This initiative would be based on the values that Creolization has brought to civilization. It would be a new ethos based on tolerance, diversity and the fusion of cultures, he said, and called for strong political support and engagement from the officials from Creole countries.
While the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and its global goals was a high point for multilateralism, multilateralism has not progressed at the desired level on the various fronts. Unfortunately, global challenges remained as crises emerge and create obstacles to progress. Cabo Verde advocates for an effective, inclusive, preventive and cooperative multilateralism. “A multilateralism that calls for less confrontation between blocs and more cooperation among Member States in the construction and delivery of global public goods to all, such as peace and security, human rights and sustainable development,” he said.