Bangladesh about to meet LDC graduation criteria

UN review in NY Tuesday set to give the first all-clear signal

Mehdi Musharraf Bhuiyan | Published: March 13, 2018 10:22:09 | Updated: March 14, 2018 11:01:57

Bangladesh is set to get the qualifying marks for LDC graduation when the UN policy body sits for a review of the country status today (Tuesday).

The 20th plenary meeting of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations will reappraise the country's development indicators when it resumes for a second day Tuesday in the US city of New York, officials in Dhaka said.

The four-day meeting, on its second day, is scheduled to conduct a triennial review where Bangladesh is set to be designated as one of the countries meeting the graduation criteria for the first time.

In Dhaka, the move is being seen as the first big step for the country towards formally graduating from the least-developed-country status by 2024.

The CDP measures LDC category on the basis of three criteria: per-capita income, human-asset index, and economic-vulnerability index.

To be eligible for graduation from the world's poor-country club, a country must reach threshold levels for graduation on at least two of these three conditions, or its GNI per-capita must exceed at least twice the threshold level.

"When it comes to Gross National Income, Bangladesh's GNI per capita, as per the World Bank Atlas method, is US$1272, well above the threshold of US$ 1242," Member of the Planning Commission Professor Shamsul Alam told FE Monday.

"In the Economic Vulnerability Index, where the score needs to be 32 or less, Bangladesh's score is 24.9, whereas in Human Asset Index, the country has already attained a score of 72 -- well above the threshold of 66," he added.

As such, Bangladesh is set to be one of the first LDCs to graduate on the basis of all three criteria.

As per the current provisions, a country needs to be eligible in two consecutive CDP reviews before any recommendation is made. Therefore, Bangladesh will have to meet these same criteria again in 2021 to be recommended by CDP for graduating from the LDC status by 2024.

"Following the triennial review in this plenary meeting, CDP will formally notify the government about the criteria fulfilment by March 20," Prof Alam said, explaining the crucial process of crossing a landmark in a nation's journey in the history of development.

The government has already planned elaborate programmes to celebrate the occasion. At the climax is a formal celebration ceremony on March 22 when the recommendation letter from CDP will be handed over to the Prime Minister.

Earlier, a mission from the Secretariat of the UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) visited Dhaka in mid-October. During the visit, the mission confirmed that the country would meet the three criteria for graduation at the next CDP review.

Experts have long noted that the loss of LDC status at graduation may give rise to potentially important economic costs due to withdrawal of GSP facilities from the European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia and other markets.

It has also been noted that as Bangladesh is expected to graduate concurrently from both United Nations and the World Bank classifications, options for concessional financing will also die off.

Earlier in January, the government formed a ten-member high-powered national taskforce to implement the roadmap for the country's graduation.

Up till now, a total of five countries have graduated from the LDC status. These are Botswana, Cape Verde, the Maldives, Samoa and Equatorial Guinea.


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