In the next 5-10 years up to 16 least developed countries (LDCs) may either graduate or be scheduled for graduation from the LDC category. Research conducted by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) Secretariat/UN-Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) suggests that uncertainty about the process constrains graduation. LDC governments and other stakeholders have expressed interest in assistance from the CDP Secretariat with addressing this source of uncertainty. To this end the CDP Secretariat is developing a graduation diagnostics toolkit aimed at helping countries clarify the procedure and remove some of the uncertainty.
On 2 December 2016 the CDP Secretariat will convene an expert group meeting in Geneva aimed at soliciting feedback on the toolkit, establishing possible partnerships and identifying data sources. The meeting will include representatives of relevant UN agencies and other interested parties, including the Commonwealth Secretariat; the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to LDCs; the International Trade Centre; the UN Conference on Trade and Development; the UN Development Programme; the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; and the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
The uncertainty surrounding graduation encompasses:
- Timing of graduation
- The potential loss of LDC-specific international support measures (ISMs)
- Actual use of LDC-specific ISMs
- Impact of graduation on ISMs
- Likely impact of graduation on development
- Managing graduation
- The nature of the smooth transition strategy
Uncertainty cannot be fully eliminated but it can be reduced and managed through identifying its sources, providing information and explaining how to obtain and use it. The goals of the toolkit are to assist in better understanding LDC-specific support and better preparing for graduation, specifically:
- Accessing graduation data
- Mapping out type of LDC specific support received
- Identifying relevant sectors and impact of ISMs
- Assessing impact on development progress
- Promoting collaboration between stakeholders with the aim of enhancing support and integration of graduation across the private sector, civil society and government
- Identifying policy priorities for successful graduation
- Establishing a roadmap to graduation
- Integrating smooth transition strategy in development strategies
- Facilitating the transition strategy
The main potential users of the toolkit are expected to be officials from the Ministries of Planning, Finance and Trade and related agencies in at least 16 countries that may graduate, become eligible or be recommended for graduation in coming years, including: Angola, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Myanmar, Nepal, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Uganda and Vanuatu. The tool should facilitate collaboration and be useable by different stakeholders within each country and possibly at the regional level. A small subset of focus-group countries will be used to test the toolkit and to develop it before it is offered to a wider audience.
The toolkit will guide the user through a list of targeted phases via an appropriate interface such as a website or other ICT-facilitated procedure. Users will be able to store or download a list of data, information and sources of further information so that they can successfully prepare for and navigate through the graduation process.