UN DESA | DPAD | Development Policy Analysis Division
There are currently 49 countries designated by the United Nations as least developed countries (LDCs).
The CDP understands LDCs as low-income countries suffering from severe structural impediments to sustainable development. The CDP uses three criteria for identifying countries as LDCs: gross national income per capita, the human asset index (HAI) and the economic vulnerability index (EVI). Both HAI and EVI are composed of several indicators.
The LDC category was established in 1971 and its membership has changed over time. LDCs have exclusive access to specific international support measures, mostly in the areas of trade and official development assistance.
The CDP reviews the list of LDCs every three years. On that basis, it advises the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations which countries should be added to the list and which countries could be graduated.