Four countries could soon “graduate” from the ranks of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable nations, a United Nations expert committee announced recently.
Bhutan, Kiribati, Sao Tome and Principe and the Solomon Islands have increased national earning power and improved access to health care and education, making them eligible to exit the group of least developed countries (LDCs).
UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP), noted that only five countries have graduated since the UN established the LDC category in 1971.
LDCs are assessed using three criteria: health and education targets; economic vulnerability and gross national income per capita.
Countries must meet two of the three criteria at two consecutive triennial reviews of the CDP to be considered for graduation.
The Committee will send its recommendations to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for endorsement, which will then refer its decision to the UN General Assembly.
Globally, there are 47 LDCs, according to the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
The majority, 33, are in Africa, while 13 can be found in the Asia-Pacific region, and one is in Latin America.
In the 47 years of the LDC category’s existence, only five countries have graduated (Botswana, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Maldives and Samoa)
Two more countries, Vanuatu and Angola, are scheduled for graduation over the next three years.
Nepal and Timor-Leste also met the criteria but were not recommended for graduation at this time, due to economic and political challenges. That decision will be deferred to the next CDP triennial review in 2021.
Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar met the graduation criteria for the first time but would need to do so for a second time to be eligible for consideration.