United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Pacific SIDS

United Nations Member States
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Permanent Mission of the Republic of Nauru to the United Nations
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Nineteenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Afelee Falema Pita
Permanent Representative of Tuvalu
on behalf of the
Pacific Small Island Developing States
1 March 2011
New York
Check against delivery
Mr. Chairman,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States represented
at the United Nations (Pacific SIDS), namely, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau,
Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, and my own country, Tuvalu.
The theme of transport serves to highlight two of the critical vulnerabilities of the Pacific SIDS.
First, we are isolated. Our distance from major markets, coupled with the high cost of fuel is a
significant challenge to economic development. Fuel costs to remote islands is especially high.
Second, we are small, and cannot take advantage of economies of scale in relation to modern
container and bulk ships. Air transport costs are similarly high because of the long distances
and low volumes. This has major implications for trade. As noted in the Report of the
Secretary-General for this session, prospects for the sustainable development of SIDS are often
negatively affected by diseconomies of scale in trade and transport, leading to higher per unit
transport costs, which in turn lead to low trade volumes. It is important that these constraints
are appropriate recognized in relevant trade negotiations and technical cooperation
We also wish to highlight that transport is not only essential to trade and economic growth, it is
of course essential for provision of basic goods and services, including access to health care.
Mr. Chairman,
In addition to the inherent vulnerabilities of our islands, capacity constraints and lack of
sustained finance hinder our progress towards reliable and efficient maritime and air services in
our region. To unlock our development potential, we are working towards addressing the
hurdles towards improving our transport services. An important area where we seek sustained
support from the international community is in developing international standard infrastructure in
Cook Islands, Federated State of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu,

shipping and aviation facilities and, importantly the capacity to maintain this. We note the
recommendation in the Report of the Secretary-General to increase financial support and public
and private investment from national and international sources for transport systems in
developing countries, including in particular for SIDS with a sense of urgency and we support
the inclusion of this recommendation in the Outcome Document.
Finally, one of the most serious challenges to transport in our region is the adverse impacts of
climate change. Much of our transport infrastructure, including ports, many airports and coastal
roads are all vulnerable to rising sea levels. We must respond to the climate crisis on a scale
commensurate with the problem - and we urge all Parties to increase their level of ambition in
the UNFCCC negotiations to ensure the survival of all small island developing States.
Thank you.