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Bhutan poised to move up from UN's category of poorest countries

IANS  |  United Nations 

Famous for its pursuit of Gross National Happiness, has a new cause for joy: In recognition of its (GNI) growth and social development, the kingdom is poised to graduate from the UN category of the world's poorest known as the (LDC).

However, two other South Asian nations, and Bangladesh, will continue in the LDC category although they have recorded progress, the UN panel that recommends changes to the list said Thursday.

The (CDP) announced that it was recommending that the kingdom was ready to move out of the LDC pool "because of its increasing national earning power as well as access to better health care and education".

"is a very interesting success story of social progress and also economic progress," CDP told reporters. "They have done very big investments in human development."

Countries that are classified as LDC have preferential access to development assistance and trade but an interim arrangement spread over many years will smooth their transition when they graduate.

To graduate out of the LDC list, a country has to meet two of the three criteria during two successive triennial reviews.

met two of them, the criteria for income, with its GNI tripling between 2003 and 2018, and for the human assets index, which measures health and education, with falling under-five mortality rate and a doubling of secondary enrollment, CDP said.

It did fall short in the third category that measures economic vulnerability, which Ocampo explained, was because "they are very specialised economically" dependent on exports.

"They are diversifying, but they are still highly dependent on the export of to India, the major export sector of Bhutan," he said. But "they are in the process of diversifying. Tourism is one of the major new sectors for them".

He said that the CDP agreed to make the LDC graduation effective after the conclusion of its 12th five year plan in 2023 to ensure a smooth transition.

met the criteria to graduate this year, but the CDP decided against recommending it because it is "a country with a very low per capital income, much lower than our threshold, and also they are in political transition (as) they are doing major constitutional change," Ocampo said.

met two of the criteria this year in a second successive review because it reduced vulnerability by making the less specialised and it made progress in human development.

Ocampo said that he expected Nepal to be ready to graduate at the next triennial review in 2021.

met the graduation for the first time and will graduate if it keeps up the standing at the next review.

Maldives moved off the LDC list in 2011.

The recommendation for Bhutan to be dropped from the LDC list - along with three others, Kiribati, and Sao Thome and Principe - now goes to the

If approved by it, the will make the final decision later this year.

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First Published: Fri, March 16 2018. 18:00 IST