Experts conducting the United Nations triennial review of the least developed country (LDC) category for 2018 have decided to accept Nepalâ€™s request and withhold its graduation from the group.
A meeting of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) has, however, decided to recommendÂ Bhutan, Kiribati, SÃ£o TomÃ© and PrÃncipeand Solomon Islands for graduation from the category. â€œNever before have so many countries been identified and recommended for graduation at a single review by the CDP,â€ the committee said in a statement,
The committee said that although Nepal and Timor-Leste also met the criteria for graduation, they were not recommended for graduation at this time, due to economic and political challenges. â€œThat decision will be deferred to the next CDP triennial review in 2021.â€
Bangladesh, Lao Peopleâ€™s Democratic Republic, and Myanmar met the graduation criteria for the first time but would need to do so for a second time to be eligible for consideration, said the committee.
Nepal had officially requested the UN to not withhold its graduation just ahead of the meeting, which reviewed the status of each LDC and forwarded recommendations to the UN General Assembly. The official word is that Nepal does not want to graduate because it fears it may lose foreign aid if it graduates. Authorities say that the economy is still vulnerable to various threats, including natural disasters.
A country has to meet three criteria to graduate: at least $1,242 Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, above 66 score on the Human Assets Index (HAI) and below 32 score in Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI). In 2015, Nepal had achieved an HAI of 68.7 and EVIÂ and EVI of 26.8.
Nepali authorities say that the countryâ€™s GNI per capita is just $862 in 2017, and it with that level of income, the country canâ€™t sustain the HAI and EVI growth.