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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Cabo Verde

(Check against delivery)
Statement by H. E. Jose Gonçalves, Minister of
Economy and Employment of Cabo Verde, on the
occasion of the United Nations Conference to Support
the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal
14: Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and
marine Resources for Sustainable Development
United Nations, New York City
5-9 June 2017
Mr. Co-President, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
All Protocol Observed,
It is an honor and a pleasure for me to take the floor, on behalf of Cabo Verde, at
the plenary of this important Oceans Conference.
At the outset, let me commend all those who maid this conference possible, namely
the President of the General Assembly, Sweden and Fiji as Co-Presidents and
Portugal and Singapore as Co-facilitators for the Call for Action.
Cabo Verde, is a small archipelago of only 4.033 Km2, surrounded by almost
900.000 Km2 of sea and Ocean, including its Exclusive Economic Zone – EEZ,
which is some 200 times greater than the country’s landmass.
The Ocean represents an essential element of the history, geography politics and
culture of Cabo Verde, by its strategic location between four Continents: Africa,
Europe, South America and North America, at the crossroads of shipping lanes that
crisscross the mid-Atlantic Ocean.
In this regard, the sea is our bounty and the main resources of our country. The
promotion of initiatives for the sustainable use of our Ocean is part of our daily
lives for not only the present but also future generations.
Indeed, our maritime vocation unequivocally creates both challenges and
opportunities. Challenges to provide adequate oversight and control over the
threats throughout the vast seas and ocean that surround our small landmass and
confront our small population, given limited means and monitoring resources.
Opportunities for strengthening our identity as an archipelago nation in the Atlantic
Ocean, further cooperation in the region and the international community while
promoting sustainable development and economic growth of our marine resources.
Cabo Verde congratulates the organizers of this Conference for bringing the
concern of the sustainable use of the oceans in the framework of the
implementation of SDG14, in a perspective that opens the possibility to steward
the rich and varied resources contained therein and generate economic wealth.
It should be noted, however, that the World’s Oceans face serious threats that can
jeopardize that goal, including marine pollution, resource overexploitation of live
resources, habitat destruction, environmental degradation and the threat of
biodiversity disappearance, among others.
The sustainable use of the Oceans is not just an environmental issue, it is also a
political one. Thus, we are advocating the adoption of policies that promote:
1. Conservation and sustainable use of the marine and aquaculture resources:
2. Sustainable management of marine and coastal resources to mitigate adverse
outcomes, including through strengthening resilience and measures to ensure
sustainable and healthy oceans;
3. Mitigation of the impacts of coastal tourism in the ocean, including
strengthening scientific capacity in the study and use of the ocean;
4. Conservation of coastal zones, in accordance with applicable national and
international law, establishing, in particular, protected marine and estuary
5. Prevention of over-exploitation of fishery resources by the application of
provisions on fishing prevention, specifically, illegal, unreported and
unregulated – IUU fishing;
6. Exploitation of economic resources available and generated by the Oceans,
based on the Sustainable Development Objectives (ODS) 14 that include,
among others, fishing, aquaculture and coastal tourism;
7. Scientific knowledge, research capacity and the adoption of benign blue
technologies in the maritime area, taking into account criteria and guidelines
that improve the health of the oceans and increase biodiversity and maintain
balance of the marine ecosystem;
8. Access to and development of artisanal fisheries, including support to
fishermen and fish mongers, the majority of who are women by providing
technical assistance, training and access to finance, including microfinance.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
In 2015, the Government of Cabo Verde adopted a Charter on Blue Growth and
Economy. This landmark Charter places the Ocean and Blue Economy at the core
of national development. A strategy that promotes resilience and sustainable
marine resource utilization, in terms of economic, social and environmental
sustainability. As a result of this initiative, other responsibilities have emerged
which the country is gladly shouldering.
In December 2016, Cabo Verde hosted the First Conference of the African SIDS +
Madagascar in the capital City of Praia. This important Conference was organized
with the support of the United Nations Joint Office in Cabo Verde. Currently, Cabo
Verde presides the group for the 2017 annual period.
This year, on May 3, 4 and 5, in the city of Mindelo, in the Island of S. Vicente, we
hosted an International Conference Dialogue on Blue Growth and Economy. This
major event was organized with the support of FAO and the African Development
Bank as part of FAO "Blue Growth" initiative and the "Blue Economy" Network.
At this Conference, all the major recurring cross-cutting themes of great
importance to the African continent were addressed, amongst which responsible
fisheries, aquaculture, food security, marine environment, climate change, fight
against poverty, all major themes that support sustainable development.
The Mindelo Conference produced a Declaration adopted by the 7 Ministers and
Representatives of 24 countries present, whose main guidelines follow:
• Recognition of the central role of Oceans in economic, social and
environmental development at the global level;
• Reaffirmation of firm commitment with UN SDG 14;
• Coordination to prevent marine pollution, over-exploitation of marine
resources, degradation of marine biodiversity, and degradation of marine
ecosystems that compromise the health of the Oceans.
Finally, and to conclude, Cabo Verde was recently designated at the Ministerial
Conference on West Africa Sub-Regional Commission on Fisheries SRCF/CSRP
as the next presiding Minister whose mandate should begin with the next 90 days.
During our tenure, in addition to strengthening governance, we intend to give a
strong voice and participation of the private sector in the business affaires of the
Commission as key partners in managing sustainably the marine resources of our
sub-region to benefit the present and future generations.
I thank you for your kind attention.