On, 24 March 2021, PRI organized an hour-long special lecture to orient its researchers to contexts and issues surrounding Nepal’s Graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category. Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), delivered the lecture at the PRI Office in Sano Gaucharan.
Situating the emergence of the LDC category in the global history of development that paralleled decolonization after World War II and reviewing the progress and achievements over the decades since the 1960s when the term ‘LDC’ was coined, he suggested that graduation from LDC should be taken as an opportunity. No country would wish to stay an LDC, he said, adding policies and structural transformation should be made by each country, including Nepal, to ensure irreversibility and sustainability of graduation.
Speaking of Nepal’s graduation, he said the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP), after its triennial review held between 22 and 26 February 2021, concluded that Nepal met the thresholds for the last two of the criteria – income, human assets and, economic and environmental vulnerability – and recommended its graduation from the LDC category with a preparatory period of five years. Nepal’s graduation would, thus, be effective from 2026. Tellingly, he added, the UN General Assembly (GA) and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) have mandated the CDP to review the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) every three years and to make recommendations on the inclusion and graduation of eligible countries.
Demystifying the fear among some LDC observers and advocates that LDCs will, post-graduation, lose the preferential treatment and concessions in international trade and development assistance, he assured that there are many more avenues that can be tapped to compensate the concession. All it requires is skillful diplomacy, he stressed. All PRI staff participated in the orientation.