There are currently 46 so-called least developed countries (LDCs), a United Nations designation.
they are attending a International Conference in Doha, QatarFocused on their development and how to best support future graduates from the LDC group.
“In the 1970s, when Nepal was first included in the UN list of least developed countries (LDCs), my parents used to collect food and other supplies in Arghakhanchi district, 68 kilometers from the country’s only highway. The goers worked as coolies.
At the time, people lived on an average annual per capita income of $70 and more than 60 percent of the population lived in hunger and extreme poverty.
Till the 1990s, my parents could not feed us enough food a day; And I still remember queuing up to buy subsidized food at a government food warehouse — the government food warehouse.
Pursuing Developmental Aspirations
Fifty years later, the situation in the country is very different. In 2021, Nepal qualified to graduate from the category of “least developed country”, met for the third time threshold level on two of the three indicators: the Human Assets Index and the Economic Vulnerability Index, which assesses the country’s health, education and economy’s vulnerability to natural shocks such as drought, natural disaster and instability in agricultural production.
Nepal’s achievements go beyond meeting these official boundaries. In 2020, poverty is reduced to 17 percent and hunger levels (as assessed by the Global Hunger Index) from severe to moderate in 2022. Improvements in roads and infrastructure have meant that rural parts of the country are now better connected.
On gender equality and health issues, Nepal has also made significant progress, successfully achieving gender equality in school enrollment targets in 2019 and reducing the under-five mortality rate to 28 deaths per 1,000 Is.
Economic, Security and Climate Challenges
Reaching these milestones has not been easy, especially for a country that endured a decades-long armed conflict from 1996-2006 and experienced a challenging peace-building process thereafter. In 2015, Nepal also suffered from a tragic 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which killed over 9,000 people and slashed GDP growth by more than 1.5 percent from an estimated 4.6 percent that year.
Shortly after she joined the United Nations in Nepal as a development analyst in 2010, the Fourth United Nations Conference on LDCs was held in Istanbul, marking an important step in Nepal’s long path toward LDC graduation.
With the goal of implementing the ‘Istanbul Program of Action’, Nepal formulated its 12th National Plan to prioritize LDC graduation. Three years later, under the 15th Plan, 2024 was set as the hard deadline for Nepal’s graduation, which was delayed to 2026. COVID-19 Epidemic.
As an economist at the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO) in Nepal, an important part of my role is to help prepare the government and other development partners for this important transition. What effect will this have on communities across the country? How can we work together to reduce any risk? These are some of the questions that have guided my work at RCO over the past three years.
In the short term, Nepal’s economy is likely to remain stable with higher graduation rates. In the longer term, however, there are many challenges including supply-side shortages of goods, insufficient structural change, and lack of flexibility in promoting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), for which we are already supporting national authorities. have been
Tapping the potential of Nepal’s ‘baby’ enterprises
Together with my colleagues in the Office of the Resident Coordinator, we have provided technical assistance to the Government of Nepal as they develop the Smooth Transition Strategy (STS). The strategy focuses on accelerating economic transformation by bringing in foreign direct investment, expanding the revenue base, access to development finance, especially climate finance, and catalysing private investment.
Engaging with neighboring LDCs and drawing on UN development system expertise from country, regional and global levels has been an important part of the smooth transition process.
Preparing Nepal for this transition requires extensive UN support; This is why the United Nations Sustainable Development cooperation framework (2023-2027) adopts LDC graduation and inclusive economic transformation as one of the central, cross-cutting pillars to guide the activities of the entire United Nations system in the country.
All these efforts will help enhance the capacity of local governments to create jobs and provide services, and promote Nepal’s many micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which make up about 99 percent of enterprises in the country. If linked to regional value chains, these MSMEs, or ‘infant industries’, many of which are led by women, hold great potential to boost progress on the SDGs and Nepal’s own development goals.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nepal, Hana Singer, joined by other government officials and development partners 5th United Nations Conference on LDCs LDC graduates in Doha to present the country’s success in border crossing.
As we approach the finish line and prepare to move away from the status of one of the world’s least developed countries, we must embrace the additional responsibility of ensuring irreversible and sustainable graduation, and work together to ensure that Working should no parent ever struggle to feed their family. Or send their children to school the way my parents and many others of my generation once did.
It is a proud moment for Nepal, and a proud moment for me personally. Our graduation sends a positive message to the world that Nepal is ready for its next chapter.