Becoming a developing nation: Nepal graduates from UN’s least developed country status

Written By: Saloni Murarka WION
Kathmandu, Nepal Updated: Jun 18, 2021, 06:29 PM(IST)

Chief of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations in New York, Amrit Rai. Photograph:( WION )

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Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that Nepal has been recommended for upgrading from underdeveloped to developing countries

Nepal has stepped into a new journey as it qualified to graduate into a developing nation from a Least Developed Country (LDC) without meeting the per capita Gross National Income (GNI) criterion. 

The United Nations Committee for Development Policy (UN CDP) recommended the graduation to the Himalayan Nation in its final evaluation on Friday.

Highlighting it as a 'unique case', Amrit Rai, Chief of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations said, "As the first country to graduate from the LDC category without meeting the GNI criterion, Nepal's graduation will be a unique case. Yet, we are determined to make it as smooth and sustainable as possible."

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Earlier, on June 09, the Chief of the Permanent Mission of Nepal had informed that the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has given consent to present the proposal in the upcoming UNGA for endorsement. 

"At its Management Segment, the ECOSOC endorsed CDP's recommendation for Nepal’s graduation from the LDC category. For Nepal, LDC graduation means an important stepping stone towards realizing national ambition of 'Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali", Rai had earlier said. 

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The recommendation was made in the triennial review of the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP), held from February 22 to 26, 2021. This decision was made keeping in mind that Nepal had met the criteria for graduation for three consecutive reviews.

Nepal met two out of three thresholds to become eligible for graduation. The three indices considered by the CDP are GNI per capita, Human Assets Index (HAI), and Economic and Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI).

"Nepal must seize the opportunity of LDC graduation to recover lost momentum on the Global Goals and make important strides forward in the Decade for Action. The UN is committed to leave no LDC behind," UN Country Team Nepal said in a tweet. 

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Considering the setback Nepal's economy faced after 2015, the CDP deferred Nepal's graduation ceremony in 2018, even though the South Asian country had already met the graduation criteria in 2015.

Further, due to the 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. The preparatory period of five years is given to provide adequate time for a smooth transition during which Nepal will offset the loss of support measures exclusive to the LDCs.

Nepal will continue to have access to all LDC-specific support measures until 2026. 

In addition to Nepal, Bangladesh and Lao People's Democratic Republic have also been recommended for graduation by the CDP.

Earlier, in a press conference, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that Nepal has been recommended for upgrading from underdeveloped to developing countries and that economic growth is promising before the onset of the pandemic.

"For the first time, the export trade has crossed the one trillion target, the trade deficit is declining. Employment opportunities are increasing in the country and the outflow of labor is decreasing," Oli said.

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