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Vientiane, 16 March 2018 - The Committee for Development Policy,a subsidiary body of the United Nations Economic and Social Council based in New York, has announced that Lao PDR has fulfilled the eligibility criteria to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) status for the first time. The committee reviews countries’ progress towards graduation every three years. Two of three inter-related criteria must be met to reach the graduation threshold.

The 2018 review found that Lao PDR has passed the thresholds for Gross National Income per capita and for the Human Assets Index, a composite index evaluating its human capital. The Economic Vulnerability Index, measuring the country’s resilience to shocks and instability, is still to be met. If Lao PDR sustains development gains and meets the criteria again in 2021, it will be formally removed from the list of LDCs in 2024.

“We welcome this significant achievement by the Government,” UN Resident Coordinator Kaarina Immonen said, “which is a demonstration of the steady progress, based on the right policy choices, which has been made towards the overarching goals of the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan. The United Nations remains committed to support Lao PDR in the process of graduation from LDC status and in achieving the Agenda 2030, towards a sustainable, equitable and prosperous future, leaving no one behind.”

The Committee for Development Policy found that Lao PDR’s Gross National Income per capita of US$ 1,996 exceeded the graduation threshold of US$ 1,230 or above (US$ 1,232 against a slightly higher threshold of US$ 1,242 in 2015). The Human Assets Index reached 72.8 compared to a threshold of 66 or above (60.8 against the same threshold in 2015) and the Economic Vulnerability Index reached 33.7, close to the threshold of 32 or below (36.2 against the same threshold in 2015).

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