March 22, 2018

The United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) in its 2018 Triennial Review conducted in March recommended four Least Developed Countries (LDCs), namely Bhutan, Kiribati, São Tomé and Principe, and the Solomon Islands, for graduation into developing countries. The CDP stated that Kiribati’s graduation, however, is contingent on the creation of a category of countries facing extreme vulnerability to environmental shocks, including climate change. This is the first time that such many countries have been recommended for graduation in a single triennial review.

For graduation, countries have to meet two of the three criteria among Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, Human Assets Index (HAI) and Environment Vulnerability Index (EVI) or meet “income only” criteria under which GNI per capita income has to be twice the threshold. The criteria are to be met in two consecutive triennial reviews to be eligible for graduation. All four countries recommended for graduation met the first two criteria while they lagged on the EVI.

Nepal and Timor-Leste also met the criteria for graduation for the second time. Nevertheless, they have not been recommended for graduation citing current economic and political challenges. The CDP will be considering them for graduation at the 2021 triennial review. Likewise, Bangladesh, Lao PDR, and Myanmar met the graduation criteria for the first time and will need to meet the criteria a second time to be eligible for consideration. Meanwhile, Vanuatu and Angola are scheduled to graduate in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

The CDP sends its recommendations to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for endorsement. ECOSOC will then refer its decision to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Graduates will get a grace period, typically of three years, during which they will have to implement transition strategy for making their graduation smooth and sustainable.

Until now, five LDCs have graduated into developing countries since the inception of LDC category in 1971. The countries are Botswana, Cape Verde, the Maldives, Samoa, and Equatorial Guinea.

For more information on the 2018 Triennial Review by Committee for Development Policy, please refer to the following URL: https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/CDP-2018-TR.pdf