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CDP tackles production in least developed countries

At Leather Wings, a small shoe-making outfit based in central Kathmandu, four women sit in a small room cutting up bright red cowhide imported from India. Next door a dozen of their colleagues stitch the shapes together on hand-powered sewing machines. The owner Samrat Dahal says the boots, designed by a German expat, sell via the Internet in India, China and Italy. The company, founded in 1985, sums up some of the issues facing the Nepalese economy: entrepreneurial leaders at the helm of a committed workforce making a competitive and quality product for which there is ample overseas demand. The problem isn't finding buyers; it's scaling up production enough to meet that demand....

LDC contributions to the UN regular budget and peacekeeping operations

LDC contributions to the regular budget of the UN are capped at 0.01 per cent of the total UN budget, regardless of their national income or the other factors determining a Member State's assessment rate ( A/RES/67/238 ). The 0.01 per cent is translated to be $271,356 in the UN budget for 2015. The LDCs are, however, required to contribute to the regular budget at a minimum assessment rate of 0.001 per cent -- $27,136 for 2015. LDCs are entitled to a 90 per cent discount in their contributions to peacekeeping operations – that is, they contribute 10 per cent of their regular budget assessment rates ( A/RES/64/249 ). Utilization by LDCs Six LDCs -- Angola, Bangladesh,...

LDC transition period extended for Vanuatu

The UN General Assembly has extended Vanuatu’s preparatory period before LDC graduation by three years, until 4 December 2020. The country joined the LDC category in 1985, and has achieved significant progress in income and human assets. At the 2012 triennial review, per capita income was $2,540, exceeding the graduation threshold of $1,190, and the human asset index reached 77.7, much higher than the graduation threshold of 66. Based on these findings, the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) recommended that the country graduates from the LDC category, a recommendation which was endorsed by the Economic and Social Council. In December 2013 the UN General Assembly took note of the...

A new approach to economic development in LDCs

For the first time a method of analysing economic development pioneered by Professor Justin Lin, former Chief Economist at the World Bank, has been applied to a least developed country (LDC). The method, known as the Growth Identification and Facilitation Framework (GIFF), aims to determine the products and services in which a country should specialise, tapping into the advantages of industrial backwardness in an effort to achieve sustained, dynamic economic growth. One of the main messages is that LDCs should focus on what they have rather than what they lack. Focusing on Uganda, the paper by Lin and Jiajun Xu determines that ‘what Uganda has’ is labour and natural resources...

New publication on LDC category: 2015 Country Snapshots

On November 19, UN-DESA and the Committee for Development Policy launched a new web publication at the UN Headquarters in New York City. Entitled The Least Developed Country Category: 2015 Country Snapshots the publication compiles key statistical data used by the CDP at the 2015 triennial review of the LDC category. To identify LDCs the CDP uses three criteria: gross national income (GNI) per capita; human assets index (HAI) and economic vulnerability index (EVI).  HAI and EVI are indices composed of four and eight indicators, respectively. These twelve indicators together with the indices for per capita GNI, HAI and EVI are summarized in one-page profiles for each...

Handbook on the LDC category, second edition has been published

The second edition of the Handbook on the Least Developed Country Category: Inclusion, Graduation and Special Support Measures  has been released by the Committee for Development Policy.  The LDC Handbook  provides comprehensive information on the least developed country (LDC) category, including a description of procedures and methodologies used in the identification of these countries, and the support measures associated with it. It builds upon and updates the previous edition published in 2008. As did its predecessor, this revised edition of the Handbook aims at promoting a better understanding of the LDC category—the only country category officially recognized by the...

A technology bank for LDCs by 2017?

Two important global development frameworks, agreed upon in July, mention the establishment of a Technology Bank for LDCs: the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development . The fact that the bank is mentioned in both documents and will be discussed during the UN General Assembly in September might create momentum to make significant strides in the process of establishing the bank. The first document refers to the forthcoming recommendations of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries, which should be taken into account when establishing the...

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...

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...

FIRST LDC Fellowship for IT professionals

The Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) is a global community, bringing together a wide variety of security and incident response teams including product security teams from the government, commercial, and academic sectors. Its members have resolved a continuous stream of security-related attacks and incidents including handling security vulnerabilities affecting computer systems and networks throughout the world connected by the Internet. Internet access in the LDCs is continuing to rise, and provides great benefits to the population of these nations. Bandwidth and connectivity do bring problems along- greater access for miscreants to do bad things and greater need...

The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Research Professors

TWAS is an international science academy, founded in 1983 in Trieste, Italy, by a group of scientists from the South under the leadership of the late Nobel laureate Abdus Salam of Pakistan. The objective of the TWAS Research Professors Programme is to provide institutions and research groups located in LDCs with the opportunity to establish long-term links with TWAS members to assist in research activities and advanced training and so help develop the local scientific capacities. Within the framework of the programme, a number of TWAS Members will be offered appointments as TWAS Research Professors based in LDCs. The appointment will normally be for a period of five years, during...

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...

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...

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...

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...