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Laos gov’t eyes graduation from LDC status in 2026

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This file photo shows a female worker embroidering logos on Nike apparel in a privately-owned garment factory in Vientiane, Lao. Frederik Balfour/AFP

Laos gov’t eyes graduation from LDC status in 2026

The Lao government will step up human resource development and cooperation with development partners to ensure the nation is able to graduate from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category.

There will be an extended preparatory period towards Laos’ assumed graduation from this category in 2026.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith said that during a recent triennial review of LDCs, Laos was recommended for graduation with an extended five-year preparatory period, effectively setting graduation in 2026. This would occur following a positive and continued trajectory throughout the time period leading up to graduation under the UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP).

Graduation from LDC status has been a long-term objective of the Lao government since 2000, through strong commitment and consistent progress in implementing National Socio-economic Development Plans.

Laos’ removal from the LDC list is not an end in itself and does not imply that no poverty remains but indicates the hard earned achievements of the government in many priority areas, Saleumxay said.

The decision by the CDP paves the way for a smooth preparatory period before Laos is officially removed from the list of LDCs, he added.

This year, the CDP considered the impact of Covid-19 on development progress, which in turn played a role in the decision to recommend an extended preparatory period before graduation itself would take place.

However, given the current circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, concerns persist because the data assessed by the review meeting did not fully cover the impacts of the pandemic. Against this backdrop, continued support and assistance from the international community is as much necessary as before the review, especially in the crucial transition period.

UN Resident Coordinator to Laos Sara Sekkenes said: “Graduating from the group of Least Developed Countries has been a development goal for Laos for many years, one that has been emphasised in the country’s national socio-economic development plans and policy priorities.

“Therefore, it is very welcome to see the country’s consistent progress across a broad range of indicators, despite the many development challenges faced, including the setbacks presented by the Covid-19 outbreak but, nevertheless, leading to the United Nations Committee for Development Policy recommendation that it graduate,” she said.

The CDP, a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council, reviews the LDC category every three years and recommends to the Council and the UN General Assembly which countries should be included into, or graduated from the list.

There are currently 46 nations on the list of LDCs. Reviews are based on quantitative criteria – Gross National Income per capita, Human Assets Index and Economic and Environmental Vulnerability Index – as well as country-specific additional information.

VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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