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Activities of Secretary-General in Cabo Verde, 21-23 January

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, accompanied by his spouse Catarina Vaz Pinto, arrived in Cabo Verde, from New York, on Saturday afternoon, 21 January, at the invitation of the Prime Minister, José Ulisses Correia e Silva.  He attended the Ocean Summit, which took place in Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente, during a stopover of the Ocean Race.

Upon arrival, he had an internal virtual town-hall meeting with United Nations staff in Cabo Verde.  He then had a bilateral meeting with Ulisses Correia e Silva.

In his remarks to the press afterwards, the Secretary-General noted that Cabo Verde is on the front lines of the existential crisis generated by climate change, and over the past five years, has faced a severe drought.  He said that he is deeply frustrated that global leaders are not giving this life-or-death emergency the action and investment it requires.

He then headed to the Ocean Live Park, a site prepared for each of the Ocean Race stopovers.  There, he briefly visited pavilions focusing on sustainability, protection of the ocean and educational programmes for children on climate.

In the evening, the Secretary-General took part in the Prime Minister’s Speaker Series event.

The next day, the Secretary-General visited the island of Santo Antão, where he saw first-hand how climate change is impacting the population's lives, and a project supported by the United Nations helping implement sustainable agricultural practices and safeguard food security.

On Monday, 23 January, his last day in Cabo Verde, the Secretary-General attended the opening of the Ocean Summit.  In his remarks, he noted that in the face of climate change and plastic pollution, humanity has its own race to win — the race to protect our ocean for the future.

The Secretary-General pointed out that the ocean supports the air we breathe, the food we consume, the cultures and identities that define us, the jobs and prosperity that sustain us.  The ocean is life, he stressed.  He emphasized that ending the ocean emergency is a race we must win, and by working as one, it’s a race we can win, he said.

The Secretary-General called on all to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals, including Sustainable Development Goal 14, and become the champions the ocean needs.  (See Press Release SG/SM/21663.)

Before leaving Cabo Verde, the Secretary-General had a meeting with President José Maria Pereira Neves.

The Secretary-General departed Cabo Verde for New York on Monday afternoon, 23 January.

For information media. Not an official record.