Nepal not recommended for the graduation from least developed countries


KATHMANDU, March 16: Nepal, even after meeting the criteria, was not recommended for the graduation from the least developed countries (LDCs), due to economic and political changes. The decision will be deferred to the next Committee for Development Policy (CDP) triennia review in 2021, according to CDP Chair Antonio Ocampo.

Along with Nepal, Timor-Leste was also not recommended for graduation, despite meeting the criteria.

Nepal had officially requested the United Nation Committee for the Development Policy not to graduate it just ahead of the meeting.

Nepal meets the criteria to graduate to the league of developing countries in two major indices Human asset index (HAI) and economic vulnerability index (EVI), according to The Economic and Social Council. 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.

However there are concerns related to foreign aids that Nepal enjoys as LDC. If Nepal graduates to the league of developing countries, it may lose the international assistance. As per the commitment made by the developed countries, they have to provide 0.75 per cent of their gross national income as official development assistance (ODA) to the least developed countries. Experts suggest that Nepal may face negative consequences and cannot sustain the achievements if it hurries for the graduation.

Meanwhile, 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).

“This is an historic occasion,” said Ocampo noting that only five countries have graduated since the UN established the LDC category in 1971.

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.

CDP member Diane Elson, a professor at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom stressed that the countries will need continued international support because they remain vulnerable to external shocks, including the impact of climate change.

According to Mr. Ocampo, this vulnerability is particularly evident in Pacific Island states such as Kiribati.

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 (Botswana, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Maldives and Samoa) have graduated.

The CDP said two more countries, Vanuatu and Angola, are scheduled for graduation over the next three years.

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.