Vanuatu will graduate from the least developed country (LDC) category on 4 December 2020. This will be a momentous occasion, heralding a new era in the nation’s development journey. However, it will be essential to carefully manage the transition leading up to, and following graduation. A smooth transition will be dependent on improving institutional and productive capacity; providing the stimulus for the private sector to flourish; ensuring inclusive, culturally sensitive development; and working to mitigate the country’s deep-seated vulnerabilities.
Transition strategies should be led by, and continue to inform, the implementation of Vanuatu 2030 | The People’s Plan - the national sustainable development plan - and be integrated into sector strategies and action plans. Overcoming the challenges and maximizing the opportunities associated with graduation will require collaborative partnerships between government, community leaders, businesses, civil society, and the country’s development and trading partners. Working together, these partnerships should honour the global commitments made by the international community and serve to deliver the development aspirations articulated by the people through Vanuatu 2030.
This background paper is intended to build awareness and increase understanding of the key issues associated with Vanuatu’s graduation to help inform national consultations, and the formulation of strategies that guide the smooth transition. It is based on a synthesis of the existing knowledge base, analysis and shared learning that exists on the topic, and has benefited from an initial round of consultations with key stakeholders. While it concludes with a series of recommendations in support of the formulation of appropriate transition strategies, this paper is not presented as a final strategy document. Rather, it is envisaged that it will provoke the necessary further thinking, discussion, research and analysis that will be guided by the National Coordinating Committee for LDC graduation in the lead up to December 2020.