Bhutan among Four nations to Graduate, Rank of Least Developed Nations

Bhutan, Kiribati, Sao Tome and Principe and Solomon Islands are set to move up from the ranks of poorest nations due to their increasing national earning power as well as access to better health care and education, a UN committee said yesterday.

The four countries will be recommended for graduation from the least developed country (LDC) category, the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) announced.This is a historic occasion, Chair of the Committee for Development Policy Professor Jose Antonio Ocampo. Ocampo said in the 47 years since the start of the Least Developed Countries category, only five countries have previously left the list. He added that two more countries, Vanuatu and Angola, are scheduled for graduation in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Bhutan’s National Development Plan

Bhutan is driven by the concept of Gross National Happiness, a term coined by the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s. The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing. The Gross National Happiness Index is a single number index developed from 33 indicators categorized under nine domains.

Secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission in Bhutan Thinley Namgyel said the transition period presents a unique opportunity to mainstream the transition strategy into the national development plan and incorporate our obligation to fulfill the target of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.


Nepal & other neighbor countries 

The Committee found that while Nepal and Timor-Leste also met the criteria for graduation, they were not recommended for graduation at this time due to economic and political challenges. These countries may again be considered for graduation at the next triennial review of the Committee for Development Policy in 2021 if they still meet the criteria.

Bangladesh, Lao PDR, and Myanmar met the graduation criteria for the first time but would need to meet the criteria for a second time at the next triennial review in 2021 to become eligible to be considered for graduation.

The Committee for Development Policy's recommendations follow increases in the national income in all countries, as well as improved education and health, a statement from the UN said. The Committee found that government development policies, as well as an improved global economic environment and the coordinated efforts of the international community, have driven the progress.

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