The Committee for Development Policy (CDP) held its 20th Plenary session from 12 to 16 March 2018 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. As part of the Plenary session, the CDP conducted the triennial review of the list of least developed countries (LDCs).
The identification of 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 level of human capital; 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 inclusion threshold values. Eligibility for graduation requires a country to meet the graduation threshold for at least two of the three criteria. Alternatively, if the per capita GNI of the country is at least twice the graduation threshold (the income-only criterion) the country is also eligible for graduation. To be recommended for graduation, a country has to be found eligible at two consecutive triennial reviews. Recommendations are not automatic, but the CDP takes additional country-specific information and the views of the country concerned into account.
For the 2018 triennial review the inclusion and graduation thresholds for the three criteria were established as follows:
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 found Bhutan, São Tomé and Príncipe and Solomon Islands eligible for graduation for the second consecutive time and recommended them for graduation from the list. As decided at the 2015 triennial review, the Committee considered Kiribati again and found it eligible for graduation for the third consecutive time. It recommended the country for graduation and further recommended the creation of a category of countries facing extreme vulnerability to climate change and other environmental shocks. Kiribati, Tuvalu and similarly vulnerable countries within that category should receive support targeting these vulnerabilities. Nepal and Timor-Leste were also found eligible for the second consecutive time, but were not recommended for graduation. The Committee will consider Nepal and Timor-Leste again at the next triennial review, in 2021. At that time, it will also consider Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar which were found eligible for graduation for the first time at the 2018 triennial review.
The LDCs at the 2018 triennial review: