Ms. Thilmeeza Hussain, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Maldives to United Nations speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting for the 19th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-19), highlighted the disadvantages of SIDS with respect to trade and transport in a global economy and requested more support in this area from the international community.

The Maldives emphasized the importance of transport and communication to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as lifelines of their economies, and described the challenges faced due to high costs of transportation that arise from their isolation and small size. This renders the economies of scale associated with international shipping and trade impossible to grasp, causing a barrier to economic development.

She pointed out that though SIDS have made progress in overcoming these issues, they are still at a disadvantage, and called for policies to be put in place to protect them from external factors that aggravate the situation. A request was made of the international community to assist with market access preferences for SIDS' exports, grants or concessionary financing for transport, information technologies and communication equipment, help in accelerating implementation of renewable energy, as well as sustainable tourism and cultural initiatives.

She further stressed the urgent nature of the matter, and expressed AOSIS' hopes that initiatives for timely, adequate, and sustained international support for transport services, infrastructure, and climate proofing for SIDS would be reflected in the Outcome Document.

The Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting for CSD-19 is ongoing from Monday, February 28 to Friday, March 4, 2011.