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The Zero Draft of the Post-2015 Development Agenda: What's new for LDCs?

On June 2, 2015 the zero draft of the post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda was released by the co-facilitators of the negotiation process, Kenya and Ireland.  The proposed agenda sets out the internationally agreed path towards sustainable development, and LDCs are expected to fully benefit from its implementation.  In the draft, Heads of states underscore that LDCs, among other groups of vulnerable countries, deserve special attention. They also pledge to accelerate full implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action, and acknowledge the importance of official development assistance in supporting the sustainable development needs of the LDCs.  Sustainable...

LDCs are making progress towards the Istanbul targets

The Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 has as objective to enable half of the number of LDCs to meet the criteria for graduation from the category by 2020. The United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) is the entity that assesses whether an LDC meets the criteria for graduation or not. This assessment takes place every three years at the triennial review of the LDC category conducted by the Committee. The latest triennial review of the LDC category took place during the plenary session of the CDP in March 2015. Ten countries met the criteria for graduation (see table) as follows: - Three countries had already been...

Monitoring countries

The Committee for Development Policy is mandated by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council to monitor the development progress of graduating and graduated LDCs, and to report its findings in its annual report to the Council. The lastet monitoring by the Committee took place at its 17 th plenary session in March 2015. The Committee reviewed the development progress of graduated countries Maldives and Samoa, and of graduating countries Equatorial Guinea and Vanuatu. Maldives (graduated in 2011) and Samoa (graduated in 2014) continued to achieve steady development progress, as indicated by continued progress in the countries’ GNI per capita and human asset index (HAI)...

The 2015 triennial review of the LDC category

The Committee for Development Policy met in plenary session at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 23 to 27 March 2015. The triennial review of the list of the least developed countries was one of the items on the Committee’s agenda.   The identification of least developed countries (LDCs) — defined as low-income countries suffering from severe structural impediments to sustainable development— is based on three criteria: (a) per capita gross national income (GNI), as an indicator of income-generating capacity; (b) the human assets index (HAI) as an indicator of human assets; and (c) the economic vulnerability index (EVI) as an indicator of structural vulnerability...

Asia Pacific High Level Policy Dialogue discusses the Istanbul Programme of Action

An Asia Pacific High-Level Dialogue took place from 4 to 6 March in Cambodia, with policy makers, experts and development partners discussing the implementation of the IPOA in the region. One of the main messages was that graduating from the LDC list is not about “checking the boxes” of the graduation criteria, but improving the livelihoods of the 300 million people living in the Asia-Pacific LDCs. Promoting sustainable and inclusive growth is key to achieving a real transformation of lives. The participants underscored the importance of delivering on commitments made by LDCs, development partners and the UN system in the IPOA. An outcome document was adopted, which can be used as an...

Asia Pacific LDCs meet in Kathmandu to discuss graduation strategies and Post 2015 agenda

From 16 to 18 December, a Ministerial meeting took place in Kathmandu, Nepal. Delegates from Asia-Pacific LDCs, UN officials and other regional partners discussed development strategies for LDCs. The meeting focused both on graduation strategies and the Post 2015 agenda. The Under Secretary-General and High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS emphasized during his opening speech that graduation in itself is not an end goal; strategies should focus on structural transformations of economies and livelihoods of people. In line with this remark, strategies debated dealt with economic transformation. Examples are enhancing investment in the productive sector, upgrading...

UNCTAD helps Angola in preparing trade policy framework

A joint UNCTAD-Government of Angola consultative workshop was held on 29 and 30 September 2014, in Luanda, Angola, in the preparation of country’s comprehensive trade policy framework.  Angola's trade policy, Economic Transformation Program, will be an input to the government's vision of diversifying the nation's economy (which is now almost entirely dependent on trade in oil and diamonds) into agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing and services, in view of its preparation for graduation from the LDC category. The draft trade policy framework, prepared by UNCTAD, encompasses an analysis of trade performance, trade policy measures and options, and other complementary measures,...

Asia-Pacific LDCs meet in Dhaka to discuss graduation gaps

Twelve Asia-Pacific LDCs are meeting at a regional conference in Dhaka to discuss which econo mic sectors can play a key role in their economic development. Other items on the agenda are the financial deficit of the countries and means to attract domestic and international investors. The overarching aim is to find ways to ‘finance graduation gaps’. This relates to the gradation-target that the LDCs have set in the IPoA: at least 50 % of the LDC group meets the graduation criteria by the end of the decade. In order to reach this goal, acceleration in the area of economic development is required. The meeting is organized by the Economic Relations Division of Bangladesh, in cooperation...

Nepal determined to leave the LDC group in 2022

The Minister of Finance, Mr. Ram Sharan Mahat, announced that strategies to facilitate the migration from the LDC group will be part of the next periodical plan, a three-year strategic roadmap that guides Nepalese policies. The strategies will focus on infrastructure projects dealing with transport connectivity and power. These two elements are the main challenges that Nepal has to address, if the country wishes to meet the criteria to leave the LDC group. Besides infrastructure works, capital expenditure should be accelerated in order to attain a sufficient level in economic growth. Last year, 3.3 % of GDP was spent on capital investment, while it needs to be 8 to 12 % for the...

UNDESA discusses LDC graduation in the margins of the LDC conference in Benin

On 28-31 July 2014, the ministerial meeting on new partnerships for productive capacity building in the Least Developed Countries takes place. On the website of the UN High representative for LDCs, LLDC and SIDS you can find detailed information about the conference and the conference agenda. One of the side events organized during this conference is a UNDESA discussion session, where the likelihood of 24 LDCs graduating from the category by 2020 will be debated. This was one of the objectives of the IPoA.  Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura (CDP Secretariat, UN/DESA) will give a presentation and Mr. Alassane Drabo (FERDI) is discussant. More information: UNOHRLLS , UNDESA event

Upcoming Ministerial Conference on Productive Capacities in LDCs

  O n 28-31 July 2014, a Ministerial Conference on New Partnerships for the Development of Productive Capacities in LDCs takes place in Cotonou, Benin. The meeting will make policy recommendations on leveraging development partnerships , including through enhancing contribution of ODA, South-South cooperation, remittance earnings, FDI and other traditional forms of external finance. These recommendations are also expected to feed into the discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda. More info: http://unohrlls.org/ministerial-conference-2014-benin/

Nepal on the road to LDC graduation

N epal might lose its LDC status by 2022. This is in accordance with the Istanbul Program of Action (IPoA). The IPoA was developed during the fourth LDC conference in Istanbul in 2011, and includes the objective to have half of the group to meet eligibility to graduation by the end of the decade. A Nepalese newspaper assesses the pros and cons that come with losing the LDC status. On the one hand, Nepal might experience a drop in received ODA and it might lose some of the trade preferences it enjoys today. The benefits mentioned, on the other hand, are national pride and the shift away from aid dependency. The author concludes that the benefits outweigh the costs, a vision that is...

TÜBITAK Graduate Scholarship Programme for LDCs is accepting applications

Applications are invited for TÜBITAK graduate scholarship available for the citizens of least developed countries. The scholarship covers fields of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technological Sciences, Medical Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities. Applicants must be 30 years old or younger for the MSc/MA programs and 35 years old or younger for the PhD programs on the first day of the application period. Applicants who are currently enrolled in a PhD program in Turkey are also eligible to apply on the condition that they have not yet completed their six semester in the program. Maximum duration for the scholarship is 2 years for the Masters and 4 years for...

Launch of Angola's LDC Graduation book

A digital book on the process of graduation of Angola from the list of LDCs was released in Geneva, Switzerland. Co-authors, Adelino Muxito and Gilberto António, present a study of the impact of the removal of the special measures associated with the LDC status. They reach the conclusion that in the short term, graduation might not have an impact on Angolan exports, taking into account that in various markets, crude oil (which is the bulk of the Angolan exports) has zero or low customs tariffs under the general MFN regime. However, the authors argue that in the medium and long term, the graduation will eventually have an impact on the national policy of diversification of exports, due to...

Samoa graduates from the LDC category

Samoa graduated from LDC status effective 1 January 2014. It now joins Botswana, Cape Verde, and Maldives the only other countries that have left the category.  In 2006, the Committee for Development Policy recommended the graduation of Samoa from the LDC  category to the Economic and Social Council. The Council endorsed the recommendation in July 2007. Subsequently, the GA adopted the resolution on the graduation of Samoa, which was scheduled to take place in December 2010. On 29 September 2009, however, Samoa was hit by a devastating tsunami, which threatened to disrupt the socio-economic progress for several years. Consequently, the GA decided to give Samoa additional...

ESCAP Young Leadership Programme

The goal of the ESCAP Young Leadership Programme for LLDCs and LDCs in the Asia-Pacific region is to contribute to capacity development for the least developed and the landlocked developing countries in training their young leaders to improve their negotiating skills. This will be done in two tracks: (a) through exposure to the work of an international organization, to engage effectively in multilateral forums, negotiations and processes for the least developed and landlocked developing countries, and (b) by exposing them to cutting edge literature on public private partnerships and foreign investment in resource and agricultural sectors. A successful candidate will be a junior or...

Bhutan 12th Round Table meeting with Development Partners

From 10-12 December 2013, a Round Table Meeting (RTM) was organized between the Government of Bhutan and its development partners. The RTMs are the highest forum for policy dialogue and aid coordination between the Government of Bhutan and its development partners. The RTMs provide an opportunity for the government and its development partners to review and discuss issues of mutual interest to further strengthen socio-economic development cooperation ties. This year's agenda included Bhutan's graduation prospects and challenges, with a presentation by UNDP . Source: Government of Bhutan .

General Assembly adopts resolution leading to graduation of Equatorial Guinea and Vanuatu

On 4 December 2013, the UN General Assembly took note of the ECOSOC decision to endorse the recommendation of the CDP that Equatorial Guinea and Vanuatu be graduated from the LDC category. The GA decided to provide Equatorial Guinea, on an exceptional basis, with an additional preparatory period of six months before the start of the three-year preparatory period leading to graduation. In addition, the GA also decided to provide Vanuatu, on an exceptional basis, with an additional preparatory period of one year before the start of the three-year preparatory period leading to graduation. The GA invites both countries to prepare, during the period between the adoption...

Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Graduation Strategies

From 4 to 6 December 2013, ESCAP, UN DESA and the Government of Cambodia jointly convene an Asia-Pacific Regional Training Workshop on Graduation Strategies,  in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The workshop brings together Member governments, experts dealing with LDC issues, the UN system, relevant regional organizations, development partners and a broad spectrum of civil society representatives from Asia and the Pacific. The main objective of the Workshop is to review the progress made and challenges encountered by Asia-Pacific LDCs towards the graduation thresholds, assess the prospects and suggest policy options for the way forward.  Source: ESCAP

UNCTAD workshop on Cambodia's graduation prospects

UNCTAD held a capacity-building workshop on issues related to Cambodia's graduation from the LDC category, in Phnom Penh, from 8 to 10 October 2013. The workshop was held with participation from senior government officials from a range of Cambodian ministries and agencies. Conceptual, methodological, statistical and substantive policy issues related to graduation from LDC status were discussed. While Cambodia may not be able to meet at least two of the graduation criteria in the near future, it was reported that the country may meet the per capita income threshold in a few years' time, if its current level of economic growth continues uninterrupted. A concept note was prepared by UNCTAD...