Updated 14 Sep 2011
are these countries?
In its triennial review of the least developed countries conducted
in 2003, the Committee
for Development Policy
based its identification of these countries through
the three dimensions of a country's state of development, namely,
its income level, its stock of human assets and economic vulnerability.
national income (GNI) per capita was used as an indicator
of income. The threshold for inclusion was a three-year
average (1999-2000) average of US$ 750 while the threshold
for graduation was US$ 900.
Human Assets Index (HAI) was used as an indicator of the
stock of human assets. The HAI reflected (a) nutrition,
measured by the average caloric consumption per capita as
a percentage of the minimum requirement; (b) health, as
measured by the under-five child mortality rate; and (c)
education, measured by (i) the adult literacy rate and (ii)
the gross secondary school enrollment rate. The threshold
for inclusion in the list of least developed countries was
an HAI value of 55 while the threshold for graduation was
Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI) was used as an indicator
of economic vulnerability. The EVI reflects structural economic
vulnerability through an average of five indicators: (a)
merchandise export concentration; (b) instability of export
earnings; (c) instability of agricultural production; (d)
share of manufacturing and modern services in GDP; and (e)
population size. The threshold for inclusion is a value
of 37 and threshold for graduation is 33. A modified EVI
includes the percentage of population displaced by natural
disasters as a supplement to the data on the instability
of agricultural production and has a threshold of greater
than 38 for inclusion and less than 34 for graduation.
A country qualified for addition to the list if it met the above
three inclusion criteria and for graduation if it met at least
two of the three criteria for graduation. In addition, no country
with a population exceeding 75 million was considered for addition
to the list.
of these countries are located in Asia and the Pacific?
Of the 50 least developed countries, the following 13 are
located in the Asian and the Pacific region: Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic
Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands,
Timor-Leste, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
What is the global mandate?
The Brussels Declaration and the Programme of Action of
the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries
which focus on
a people-centered policy framework;
governance at national and international levels;
human and institutional capacities;
productive capacities to make globalization work for the
least developed countries;
the role of trade in development;
vulnerability and protecting the environment; and
are the primary benefits of such groupings?
Compared with other developing countries, the least
developed countries have always benefited from specific
advantages under the Generalized System of Preferences
(GSP) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
and the World trade Organization. Under the GSP, a
developed country can grant non-reciprocal duty concessions
to imports from developing countries. Some developed
countries extend GSP benefits to all products originating
from least developed countries. The European Union
"Everything but Arms" initiative eliminated
quotas and duties on all products except arms from
least developed countries, effective March 2001, although
the full liberalization of sugar, rice and bananas
will be phased in during a transition period between
2006 and 2009.
Financing for development.
In the Brussels Declaration adopted at the Third United
Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, donors
agreed "to meet expeditiously the targets of 0.15 per
cent or 0.20 percent of GNI as ODA to least developed countries
as agreed". In addition, Governments undertook to improve
aid effectiveness and to implement an OECD-Development Assistance
Committee recommendation to untie all ODA to least developed