Your Excellency Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration , Mrs. Myriam Vieira
Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic community
My dear colleague RC Ana Patrica Graca, esteemed UN Colleagues and Representatives
It is a pleasure to join you for the opening of this retreat, which comes at a critical moment in time and for such an important purpose – creating a shared vision for the future of the UN’s work in Cabo Verde, with the goal of supporting the country achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
In today’s global development landscape, this might seem like a daunting objective. The paradigm shift from the Millennium Development to the 2030 Agenda’s universal, hugely ambitious approach, spanning economic, social, and environmental dimensions of development – and with a commitment to LNOB - already laid bare the need for change in the way we work to address challenges that don’t respect sectoral or national boundaries. The reform of the UN development system that was set in motion in 2019 already recognized that it could not be business as usual for us and that we needed to raise the level of ambition and partner with all stakeholders to ensure impact.
Unfortunately, three years later, the situation looks much grimmer. UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres did not mince words when he outlined his priorities for 2022 last Friday to the General Assembly, reiterating the need for countries to “go into emergency mode” as we near critical inflection points on so many fronts, as our decisions today will determine global outcomes for decades ahead. He drew attention to the “five-alarm global fire that requires the full mobilization of all countries,”
the raging COVID-19 pandemic with its sweeping and persisting impacts. The latest – but probably not last – Omicron variant holds up the mirror to the failure of global leadership to roll out vaccines equitably around the world
the morally bankrupt global financial system that favours the rich, with the resulting disparities constituting a recipe for instability, crisis and forced migration,
the climate crisis - the “avalanche of action” needed for carbon neutrality to prevent a catastrophic breakdown of climate and biodiversity, together with the coalitions needed for financial and technical support for green transitions, as well as action on adaptation;
digital chaos and lawlessness in cyberspace, which requires the balancing of much-needed expansion of internet access to the nearly three billion people left digitally behind against the action needed to address data misuse, misinformation and cyber-crime;
diminished peace and security, with the world now facing the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945 when the UN was first created. The sobering realities of the assault on human rights and rule of law; rising populism, racism and extremism; and escalating humanitarian crises.
These issues intersect and play out in different ways and to different degrees in countries across and world –presenting the ultimate test for the UN family. The returns on the reform of the development system are already becoming clear at the global level. The SG’s report to the ECOSOC OAS in May 2021 quantifies systemwide results for the first time across 136 countries: 263 million children access to distance learning; 262 million people access to vaccines, maternal health and nutrition programmes; and 120 million people access to social protection schemes. It is also most encouraging that 91% of programme country governments surveyed last year perceived the UN to be more relevant to their country’s development needs compared to three years ago. And the General Assembly resolution A/76/4 on the review of the Resident Coordinator system adopted in October 2021 reflects the unequivocal support of Member States to the reform.
But we all know that this is but a start, and that country by country, we need to demonstrate our ability to step up everywhere, to be the partner that governments need as they tackle the very tough challenges today and in the future.
For Cabo Verde, the United Nations has been a steadfast partner – already far advanced towards this vision of coherence and impact. You recognized the importance of a strong and cohesive UN as early as 2005, pioneering the Joint Office and soon thereafter, forging ahead to Deliver as One. The government’s strong and consistent support for the reform points to key opportunities for the next generation of collaboration– and the next generation of UN country team – through the new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for the period 2023-2027:
Opportunities to tap into the best data and analytical capacities from across the system to diagnose SDG-related challenges
Opportunities to prioritize areas where the UN can deliver integrated policy solutions for SDG acceleration, aligned with the new National Development Strategy
Opportunities to strengthen the coalitions needed to SDG financing, tapping effectively into internal and external, public and private sources.
We simply cannot miss these opportunities. While the ongoing UN Development Assistance Framework is recognized to be quite successful, the devastating impact of the COVID pandemic on Cabo Verde’s small island economy – its tourism and aviation industries and supply chains- has rendered obsolete previous analyses, plans and budgets. So it must be business unusual going forward, to help the country recover and onto a path that accelerates towards sustainability.
The Cooperation Framework formulation at the same time as the recovery from the pandemic offers the UN an opportunity to move from a primary preoccupation with entity-specific sectoral projects to joined-up and cross-sectoral policy SDG solutions. The process invites us to source in strategic policy, programming and financing capacities needed to help Cabo Verde with its economic transformation agenda, including the blue economy and trade; for digital transformation; for a green transformation, for an inclusive recovery.
It is exciting to see that there is so much that already enables the country to profit from global solutions, including the foundation of sound governance and respect for Rule of Law, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and the commitment to leave no one behind, the strong national institutions, and partnerships at subregional and regional levels.
As seen in the partnership to deliver such a high percentage of vaccinations.
As is seen in the collaboration around the country’s Socio-economic Response Plan and the formulation of the new Sustainable Development Strategy.
As seen in Cabo Verde’s technical and political leadership on multi-dimensional vulnerability, to enable improved access to the concessional financing and transfer of technologies needed to recover from the crisis.
As seen in the engagement around the Oceans Decade, and Cabo Verde’s commitment to protect the Earth’s largest ecosystem.
If we are to succeed going forward, our own partnerships need to be scaled up.
Leveraging the full range of UN system capacities: It is so encouraging to see the range of UN entities participating in this retreat. Beyond the essential stalwarts that have already boosted the ongoing UNDAF, I recognize those “non-resident” and specialized entities that have been engaging for the better part of the last 18 months because they wish to join the new generation of UN programming; this will be critical to support the economic and climate transformation agenda.
In terms of the IFI relationship, the UN relationship with the World Bank, for instance, is especially notable: it’s not true everywhere. But you are already on the road to undertaking the kind of joint social and economic analysis that should underpin a sound recovery.
I’m grateful to the commitment from our bilateral and multilateral partners who will be instrumental in helping ensure complementary in cooperation- and commitment to impact.
And we will need to lift the engagement with the private sector and Civil society to ensure inclusive growth.
Secretary General Gutteres has committed us to a reform agenda that will deliver a coherent, cohesive, effective and efficient UN as a partner of choice for countries on their SDG journey. Cabo Verde’s new Cooperation Framework will take you virtually into the last lap before the 2030 finish line. Seize the opportunity to craft a visionary programme that provides the impetus and capacities towards Cabo Verde’s achievement of the SDGs – grounded in evidence, inclusive in outlook, and focused on areas where the UN truly has a comparative advantage to deliver, working in lockstep with the government and our development partners.
From what I’ve heard and seen, I am confident that your experience will be seen on the global stage as a shining example of a culture of collaboration, excellence, and expertise – as you continue to build the UN development system we need in order to serve the people of Cabo Verde and deliver on the promise of the 2030 Agenda.
I thank you and wish you the very best for a successful retreat.