The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released 'The LDCs Report 2016: The Path to Graduation and Beyond: Making the Most of the Process’.
The report discusses how LDCs are “stuck in a poverty trap,” in which poverty leads to a lack of education, poor health and nutrition and undermines productivity and investment, ultimately hindering efforts to achieve sustainable development.
15 December 2016: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released its 2016 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) report, which finds that global poverty is increasingly concentrated in the world’s 48 most vulnerable countries. The report urges increased global support to ensure that the LDCs are not left behind in efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
‘The LDCs Report 2016: The Path to Graduation and Beyond: Making the Most of the Process’ illustrates how many LDCs are “stuck in a poverty trap,” in which poverty leads to lack of education, poor health and nutrition, and undermines productivity and investment, ultimately hindering efforts to achieve sustainable development. According to the UN, the proportion of the global poor in LDCs has more than doubled since 1990, with over 40% of the world’s poor found in these countries. Similarly, the proportion of people without access to water has doubled to over 43% in LDCs, and the proportion of people without access to electricity has increased by nearly 53% in LDCs. In six LDCs, rates of extreme poverty are between 70% and 80%.
According to the UN, the proportion of the global poor in LDCs has more than doubled since 1990, with over 40% of the world’s poor found in these countries.
According to the report, four countries have graduated from the LDC category since it was established 45 years ago: Botswana, Cabo Verde, Maldives and Samoa. To graduate from the LDC category, countries must meet a set of economic and social criteria. In 2011, the international community set a goal that half of all LDCs, or 21 countries, will satisfy graduation criteria by 2020. Equatorial Guinea, Vanuatu and Angola are scheduled to graduate in 2017, 2020 and 2021, respectively.
To achieve long-term development, the report recommends that LDCs implement structural changes to increase the productivity of their economies and achieve “graduation with momentum” through, inter alia: developing rural non-farm activities while also upgrading agriculture; promoting productive policies and activities that contribute to development; building capacities in science, technology and innovation (STI); strengthening tax systems, addressing financial inclusion and improving financial systems; and addressing gender equality across all policy areas.
The report calls on donors to meet official development assistance (ODA) commitments and to make aid more predictable, stable and aligned with national development strategies. It also calls for: faster progress towards 100% duty-free and quota-free access for LDC exports to developed country markets; timely operationalization of a technology bank for LDCs in 2017 and improved monitoring of technology transfers; and progress on special and differentiated treatment for LDCs in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) negotiations.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said LDCs are “the countries where the global battle for poverty eradication will be won or lost,” underscoring the need for global support for LDCs to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s commitment to “leave no one behind.” On graduation from LDC status, Kituyi emphasized that “how a country graduates is just as important as when it graduates,” explaining that graduation is only the “first milestone in the marathon of sustainable long-term development.” [UN Press Release] [UNCTAD Press Release] [Publication: The LDCs Report 2016: The Path to Graduation and Beyond: Making the Most of the Process]