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Working Group on LDC Graduation Hears Experience of Maldives

26 March 2012: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) Ad Hoc Open Ended Working Group (AHWG) to Further Strengthen the Smooth Transition Process for the Countries Graduating from the Least Developed Country (LDC) Category held its third substantive meeting on 26 March 2012, in New York, the US. The Group heard a presentation on the experience of Maldives as a recently graduated country.

Sharing his country's experience in graduating from the LDC category, Maldives noted its transition strategy focused primarily on trade development, with a secondary objective of maintaining development financing. Maldives reported lack of progress in the area of development assistance and access to concessionary finance, explaining that pledges made at a donor conference had gone largely unfulfilled. He also stressed the importance of graduating countries' developing a coherent national strategy for smooth transition, monitored on an annual basis. Maldives also reiterated the call for official recognition of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) category at the UN, explaining that SIDS' often high per capita income can mask economic vulnerability and structural handicaps.

Cape Verde reiterated the call for a SIDS category, underscoring that enhanced support was necessary to increase resilience of small island graduated and graduating countries vis-à-vis external shocks, in particular drought, desertification and sea-level rise. The Solomon Islands underscored the need for predictability, outlining that many SIDS LDC country programmes were unrelated to the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA), and stressed the need for better coordination of UN system activities on the ground.

At the 2009 triennial review of the LDC list, the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) recommended that Equatorial Guinea be graduated from the list of LDCs, owing to its high gross national income (GNI) per capita. Tuvalu and Vanuatu were considered eligible but not recommended for graduation due to doubts over the sustainability of their progress. Kiribati, which met the criteria for the first time in the 2006 review, was no longer found to be eligible. Samoa and Maldives, which were scheduled for graduation in December 2010 and January 2011 respectively, were found to have shown continued positive development progress. However, due to the devastating tsunami that hit Samoa in 2009, it was decided to postpone Samoa's graduation, from December 2010 to 1 January 2014.

The Working Group will meet again on 8 May. [AHWG Third Substantive Meeting, Summary Record] [UNOHRLLS Webpage on AHWG]