The group of 36 economies with special needs in Asia and the Pacific is comprised of least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS). These countries are home to more than 400 million people, a quarter of the total population of the Asia-Pacific developing countries excluding China and India. Their economies are marked by persistent structural development challenges, fluctuating economic growth and heavy dependence on a limited number of commodities or low wage manufactured products for export earnings.
The United Nations has formulated strategic actions to address the developmental challenges faced by countries with special needs through the implementation and mainstreaming of global mandates, including the Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs, the Vienna Programme of Action for the LLDCs, and the SAMOA Pathway for the SIDS. In this vein, ESCAP has been working closely with other United Nations agencies and regional development partners to assist these countries with a special emphasis on productive capacity, infrastructure, trade and transport facilitation, human resources development, private sector development, targeted use of official development assistance, and other external assistance and institutional development, including promotion of governance at all levels. ESCAP also provides capacity-building support for policymakers in these economies to help them develop integrated approaches, models, and tools aimed at enhancing regional cooperation with regard to the SDGs.