Solomon Islands to graduate from UN’s least developed countries list

An artificial island in the Lau Lagoon, Malaita Province. Photo: SIBC

A United Nations expert committee announced last week that Solomon Islands is one of four countries that could soon graduate from the ranks of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable nations.

According to the UN News Centre, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Bhutan and Sao Tome and Principe have increased national earning power and improved access to health care and education, making them eligible to exit the group of least developed countries.

“This is an historic occasion,” said Jose Antonio Ocampo, chair of the Committee for Development Policy.

He noted that only five countries have graduated since the UN established the LDC category in 1971.

LDCs are assessed based on health and education targets, economic vulnerability and gross national income per capita.

Countries must meet two of the three criteria at two consecutive triennial reviews by the Committee for Development Policy to be considered for graduation.

The committee will send its recommendations to the UN Economic and Social Council for endorsement, which will then refer its decision to the UN General Assembly.

According to the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, there are 47 LDCs globally.

Thirteen are in the Asia-Pacific region, 33 are in Africa, and one is in Latin America.

In the 47 years since the establishment of the LDC category, only Botswana, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Maldives and Samoa have graduated.

Vanuatu and Angola are scheduled for graduation over the next three years.

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