The Committee for Development Policy met in plenary session at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 23 to 27 March 2015. The triennial review of the list of the least developed countries was one of the items on the Committee’s agenda.
The identification of least developed countries (LDCs) — defined as low-income countries suffering from severe structural impediments to sustainable development— is based on three criteria: (a) per capita gross national income (GNI), as an indicator of income-generating capacity; (b) the human assets index (HAI) as an indicator of human assets; and (c) the economic vulnerability index (EVI) as an indicator of structural vulnerability to exogenous shocks. For a country to be included in the category, all three identification criteria have to be satisfied at specific threshold values. Eligibility for graduation requires a country to fail to meet two, rather than only one, of the three criteria, while thresholds for graduation are established at higher levels than those for inclusion. To be recommended for graduation, a country has to be found eligible at two successive reviews.
The Committee reviewed data on the LDC indices, indicators and additional relevant information to ascertain which LDCs could be recommended for graduation and which low-income developing countries could be included in the category. Accordingly, the Committee established that Bhutan, Nepal, Solomon Islands, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor Leste meet the criteria for graduation for the first time in 2015. Besides these countries, five other LDCs already meet the criteria to graduation: Equatorial Guinea and Vanuatu, currently earmarked for graduation in 2017; Tuvalu, recommended for graduation in 2012, but awaiting a decision by the Economic and Social Council; Angola and Kiribati, which met graduation eligibility for the second consecutive time in 2015. Accordingly, the Committee recommended to the Council that Angola be graduated from the LDC category. The Council is anticipated to make a decision on that recommendation this coming June. The Committee did not recommend Kiribati for graduation at this time but will consider a possible recommendation at the next triennial review of the LDC category in 2018.
For additional information on the 2015 triennial review: CDP website