Bhutan, Kiribati, São Tomé and Principe, and the Solomon Islands to ‘graduate’ out of LDC category

March 22, 2018:  in its 2018 Triennial Review the UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) have recommended that four LDCs: Bhutan, Kiribati, São Tomé and Principe, and the Solomon Island graduate out of the LDC category to being ‘developing countries’. The CDP added that Kiribati’s graduation is contingent on the creation of a category of countries facing extreme vulnerability to environmental shocks, including climate change. This is the first time that four countries have been recommended for graduation in a single triennial review.

Until now, only five LDCs Botswana, Cape Verde, the Maldives, Samoa, and Equatorial Guinea have graduated into developing countries in the last 45 years –  since the LDC Category began in 1971.

In order to graduate out of the DC category, countries have to meet two of the three criteria: Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, Human Assets Index (HAI) and Environment Vulnerability Index (EVI) or meet “income only” criteria under which GNI per capita income has to be twice the threshold. Countries must meet this criteria in two consecutive triennial reviews, in order to be eligible for graduation. All four countries recommended for graduation met the first two criteria while they lagged on the EVI.

Nepal and Timor-Leste also met the criteria for graduation for the second time. Nevertheless, they have not been recommended for graduation because of current economic and political challenges. The CDP will be considering them for graduation at the 2021 triennial review. Likewise, Bangladesh, Lao PDR, and Myanmar met the graduation criteria for the first time and will need to meet the criteria a second time to be eligible for consideration. Meanwhile, Vanuatu and Angola are scheduled to graduate in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

The CDP sends its recommendations to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for endorsement. ECOSOC then refers its decision to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Countries due to graduate are given a ‘grace period’, typically of three years, during which they will have to implement a transition strategy to make their graduation smooth and sustainable.


For more information about the Triennial Review, go to:

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