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Cabo Verde: Expert praises development action, urges more on gender equality and disabilities

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PRAIA (21 November 2018) – Cabo Verde deserves recognition for its efforts to address poverty, but more can be done to promote participation in political economic and social development of women, people with disabilities and rural communities, a UN expert said today.

At the end of a 10-day visit to the country, the Special Rapporteur on the right to development, Saad Alfarargi, commended the efforts of the Government to integrate the right to development in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by involving civil society and communities in the preparation of development policies and action plans. 

“I was heartened to learn from civil society organisations that they have been included in the discussions leading to formulation of domestic development policies and legislation,” Alfarargi said. “I encourage the Government to institutionalise consultation processes when working on development policies and legislation affecting economic and social rights of the people.”

Although the country faced many challenges due to its lack of natural resources, a small and undiversified economy and a high dependency on Official Development Assistance (ODA) and migrant remittances, Alfarargi noted that national poverty had declined in recent years.

Cabo Verde progressed from being a ‘least developing country’ in 2007, but that, combined with the global economic crisis of 2008, resulted in drastic funding cuts for the country, stalling development and much-needed reforms.

Alfarargi was extremely concerned about the poverty and exclusion affecting women, people with disabilities and rural communities.

“Not only women’s unemployment rates are higher than men’s, but women are more often employed in the informal economy, they are paid less than men or not at all,” the Special Rapporteur said. “More than 60 percent of the population in some rural communities live below the poverty line. As for people with disabilities, more than 90 percent are unemployed and have no access to adequate health care because of inaccessible facilities, lack of personnel qualified to address their specific needs and lack of information.”

Alfarargi urged the Government to continue dialogue with the communities left behind in order to find the best solutions for their needs. He also called on the international community to provide adequate technical and financial assistance in line with its commitments made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Special Rapporteur’s detailed report of his visit and recommendations will be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2019.


The expert: Mr. Saad Alfarargi (Egypt) was designated as the first Special Rapporteur on the right to development by the Human Rights Council in 2017. Mr. Alfarargi served as Ambassador and Permanent Observer of League of Arab States to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva (1998-2012), Regional Director for Arab States, Assistant Administrator, UNDP, New York (1995-1997), Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Chief of the President Office for Economic Affairs, Cairo (1992-1995), Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva. He holds BSc.and MSc. in Political Science from Cairo University, and post graduate studies in International Relations at the London School of Economics.

Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

Check the UN Declaration on the right to development

UN Human Rights, country page – Cabo Verde

For further information please contact Ms. Antoanela Pavlova (+41 22 917 93 31 / apavlova@ohchr.org) or write to srdevelopment@ohchr.org
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

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