The United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) has recommended for Nepal’s graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category with preparatory period of five years. This means that the graduation of Nepal would be effective in 2026.
The CDP, in its triennial review held from 22 to 26 February 2021, made this recommendation as Nepal had met the criteria for graduation for three consecutive reviews. Out of three indices which the CDP considers while deciding on the question of graduation – GNI per capita, Human Assets Index (HAI), and Economic and Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI), Nepal met the thresholds for the latter two, thus being eligible for graduation.
Due to the extraordinary challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and based on the request of the Government of Nepal, the normal preparatory period of three years has been extended to five. In addition to Nepal, Bangladesh and Lao People’s Democratic Republic have also been recommended for graduation by the CDP.
Though Nepal had met the graduation criteria for the first time in 2015, the CDP in its 2018 triennial review recommended to defer the graduation on the request of the Government of Nepal considering the setback on Nepal’s economy by the 2015 earthquake and other disasters in the following years.
The CDP’s recommendation is an important milestone in Nepal’s development trajectory towards the national ambition of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ and the nation’s development aspirations as reflected in the Fifteenth Periodic Plan.
It may be noted that this recommendation needs to be endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which shall then be ‘noted’ by the UN General Assembly later this year. Nepal will continue to have access to all LDC-specific support measures until 2026. The preparatory period of five years is given to provide adequate time for a smooth transition during which Nepal would be enabling itself to offset the loss of support measures exclusive to the LDCs.