UN support for smooth transition strategy of graduating LDCs

LDCs derive special support measures both from the donor community, including bilateral donors and multilateral organizations, as well as from the special treatment accorded to them by certain multilateral and regional trade agreements.

Graduation from the list of LDCs may result in the cessation of support measures that are specifically made available for the category. The withdrawal of such support needs to be taken into account and carefully planned by graduating countries in cooperation with their development partners. The preparation of a strategy for smooth transition from the category is therefore recommended.

General Assembly resolution 59/209 of 20 December 2004 states that graduating countries can request the assistance of the UN system to prepare a transition strategy to adjust to the eventual phasing out of LDC-specific international support measures (paragraph 4).  The resolution also requests the UNDP Administrator to provide the support of the UN Resident Coordinator and of the UN Country Team to the consultative mechanism – a task force composed of country’s relevant development and trading partners — facilitating the preparation of the transition strategy (paragraph 6). It further requests the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) to monitor the development progress of the graduated country as a complement to its triennial review of the list of LDCs and to report thereon to the Economic and Social Council.

Subsequently, the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 adopted by the IV UN Conference on the LDCs  (Istanbul, 9-13 May 2011) envisaged the creation of an ad-hoc working group to further study and strengthen the smooth transition process. The report of the working group was considered at the 67th session of the General Assembly during the fall of 2012.

On 21 December 2012, the General Assembly adopted the resolution on smooth transition for countries graduating from the list of LDCs . The resolution endorses several of the recommendations put forward by the ad-hoc working group and  clarifies several aspects of the smooth transition process including the required actions by graduating countries and their development and trading partners and the nature of support extended by the UN during this process. It also provides guidelines on the phasing out of some LDC-specific international support measures.

Utilization by LDCs:

  1. 2012 Monitoring Reports-Cabo Verde
  2. 2018 Monitoring Reports-Equatorial Guinea
  3. 2018 Monitoring Reports-Maldives
  4. 2018 Monitoring Reports-Samoa


  1. Strengthening smooth transition from the LDC category
  2. Report of the ad hoc working group of the General Assembly to further study and strengthen the smooth transition process
  3. Macro-economic modelling framework analysis