Source: Small Island Developing States
2 July 2018: The UN Secretary-General’s Report on the ‘Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for the Decade 2011–2020’ (IPoA) was introduced for consideration by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The IPoA report provides comprehensive information and analysis on recent progress in LDC countries, covering eight priority areas for action and the overarching goal of enabling graduation from the category.
Per the report, the UN Committee for Development Policy, held in March 2018, found that 12 of the LDCs had met graduation thresholds, occupying various stages in the graduation process. This shows a marked increase from the five LDCs that have graduated since the creation of the LDCs category in 1971. Among the 12 countries: Bhutan, Kiribati, Sao Tome and Principe, and the Solomon Islands were recommended for graduation by the Committee for Development Policy, while for Nepal and Timor-Leste, the Committee will revisit the sustainability of progress at the next triennial review; three of the LDCs, Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar, met the graduation criteria for the first time in 2018.
The IPoA report notes the positive impacts of advances on access to information and communications technology (ICT), sustainable energy, human and social development indicators (for example, relating to health, education and gender equality, governance indicators and domestic resource mobilization. The publication stresses, however, that significant gaps that must be closed to meet IPoA goals. These include speeding up structural transformation and increasing the share of the LDCs in exports in world trade, as well as diversifying away from commodities. The report also highlights that: gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates fall short of the 7% target in most of LDCs; and that expenditure on social protection is still significantly lower in the LDCs than in other developing countries, corresponding to relatively low tax revenues. Other gaps relate to limited investment, including foreign direct investment (FDI) and stagnant official development assistance (ODA) flows to LDCs that remain below targets.
The IPoA report reflects decisions and actions by Member States on implementation, including the outcome of the mid-term review that took place in Antalya, Turkey, in May 2016. The report further highlights activities by other stakeholders, including the UN system, civil society and the private sector. It recommends that IPoA implementation be accelerated to ensure that its goals and targets are achieved by 2020, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
In July, ECOSOC is convening its annual organizational session and its Coordination and Management Meeting (CCM), which reviews specific development issues and considers special country situations or regional issues. [Publication: Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011–2020] [Report of the UN Committee for Development Policy]