- GS 2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora – their structure, mandate.
- Recently, UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) has released a new report titled, ‘The Least Developed Countries Report’ where it has highlighted the developments in the least developing countries over the last 50 years.
What are the least developing countries?
- The countries are measured on the basis of three parameters.
- Income Criteria: The threshold for inclusion in this category of countries is an income of $1,018 or below.
- Human assets index (HAI): It consists of a health sub-index and an education sub-index.
- The thresholds for inclusion are a composite score of 60 or below.
- Economic and environmental vulnerability index: It consist of two sub-indices—an economic vulnerability sub-index and an environmental vulnerability sub-index.
- The thresholds for inclusion are a composite score of 36 or above.
- The list of LDCs is reviewed every three years by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), a group of independent experts that report to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
- As of 2021, forty-six countries are designated by the United Nations as least developed countries (LDCs).
50 years of the LDC category
- The number of LDCs doubled from 25 at the establishment of the category in 1971 to a peak of 52 in 1991.
- The COVID-19 pandemic brought about the worst growth performance in 30 years.
Achievements at 50: Growth, transformation and sustainability?
- Real GDP for LDCs has increased fivefold since 1971.
- Prior to the COVID-19 shock, LDCs accounted for about 1% of world GDP.
- Only seven LDCs (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Mali, and Myanmar) have consistently outpaced the world average GDP per capita growth by more than 1%.
Estimating the cost of achieving Sustainable Development Goals in the LDCs during the post-pandemic decade
- LDCs will have to invest $485 billion annually to eradicate extreme poverty.
- LDCs will have to invest $462 billion annually to meet the target of achieving a 7% annual GDP growth.
- The level of LDC’s public expenditure will have to increase by 12.3% from the current 2.9% of GDP to reach major social and environmental targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.