Government getting prepared for exiting LDC status

Mar 12, 2015

Participants of the high level national workshop on LDC graduation. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR/Camille Reinhardt

Vientiane, 12th March 2015   At a national workshop on strategizing preparedness for the Lao PDR’s graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status, more than 60 high level government officials discussed enhanced understanding on the LDC principles and its graduation procedures and potential implications of LDC graduation at Vientiane’s Don Chan Palace.  Policy specialists from UNCTAD in Geneva came to Vientiane to make presentations and bring technical advice as well as to present lessons learnt from the experiences of other graduated or graduating countries and help define adequate measures for a smooth transition in Lao PDR.

The meeting was opened by H.E Somdy Douangdy, Minister of Planning and Investment who stated that Lao PDR has set the goal to meet the criteria of graduating from the LDC status by 2020s as one of the country’s priorities. He stressed that LDC status graduation represented an integral part of Lao PDR’s 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) for the period 2016-2020 as well as the 2025 Development Strategy.  Mr Douangdy emphasized how essential it was for the government to have this explanatory session in order to firstly understand the factors associated with the LDC procedures and secondly to be able to identify what actions are needed to ensure a sustainable and smooth transition to a non LDC status.

According to the United Nations Committee for Development Policy, a country is eligible for graduation only if it meets the thresholds for two of the three criteria, namely national income (Gross National Income), health and education indicators (Human Asset Index) and economic and environmental viability (Economic Vulnerability Index). Lao PDR is expected to have its progress assessed in the 2015 UN triennial review, a process which will inform whether or not the country is close to graduation.

“This workshop comes in a timely manner. 2015 represents an important year for planning the future of the Lao PDR. The 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan is being developed this year, with LDC graduation at its core. In October, the High-Level Round Table Meeting will focus on this plan and the goal of graduating from LDC status. 2015 is also the year for the finalization of the Development Finance and Aid Assessment study, which will help prepare the country for graduation. Regionally, 2015 will see the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community, for which the Lao PDR also needs to prepare, to maximize the benefits. This preparation can be done together with the preparation towards LDC graduation. At the global level, the Millennium Development Goals achievement date is end 2015. The MDGs will be succeeded by the universal Sustainable Development Goals. We hope the Government will continue to work towards this global agenda and the new goals will be nationally adapted”, Ms. Kaarina Immonen, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Lao PDR explained.

She further emphasized that “The effectiveness, inclusiveness and sustainability of graduation will depend on how prepared the Lao PDR and its people are, and how everyone, both within and outside of the government, takes part in graduation as a joint effort.”

This workshop was also combined with a brainstorming session with line government agencies on identifying inputs and relevant contribution from concerned parties specifically in light of the 8th NSEDP which concentrates on achieving eligibility to graduate from LDC status.  In addition to technical presentations on the process of graduation, lessons from other graduated countries or countries eligible for graduation from LDC status were shared. These examples will be especially useful for the government of Lao PDR to grasp the implications of LDC graduation, possible associated challenges and ways to address them. Moreover, some studies of the national context have been undertaken to analyse concerns specific to Lao PDR as well as sustainable addressing mechanisms.

While further analyses are needed to tailor transitional measures in accordance to the national context, this workshop represented a first step towards preparing together for a smooth transition towards LDC graduation, as part of a broader agenda of sustainable and inclusive development of Lao PDR. The 8th NSEDP is expected to be endorsed by the National Assembly this year and will provide a fundamental base for keeping track of implementation and monitoring of the Lao PDR’s progress toward exiting the LDC status.

Notes for editors:

LDC graduation is evaluated by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) from the United Nations Development Policy and Analysis Division (UNDESA) on the basis of three interrelated criteria which evaluate the income of a country as well as its structural handicaps for sustainable development. The three criteria are GNI per capita, Human Development Index (HAI) and Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI). The CDP evaluates countries every three years and a country must meet at least two of the three criteria’s graduation thresholds for two consecutive triennial reviews in order to be eligible for graduation.
Contact information

Ms. Sisavanh Didaravong, Director of Macro Economic Division, Department of Planning, Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Ms. Silavanh Vongphosy, Head of Poverty Reduction Unit, UNDP Lao PDR.
Tel: +856 20 5551 9970

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