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Triennial LDC Review Hears Vanuatu’s Needs for Smooth Transition

17 January 2012: The representative of Vanuatu to the UN urged the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to ensure that, if the country is recommended for graduation from least developed country (LDC) status, it would continue to enjoy the preferential trade terms and other privileges provided to LDCs, in order not to derail the country from its sustainable development path.The CDP is conducting the 2012 Triennial Review of LDC Category, to determine countries to be added or graduated from the list of LDCs.

The representative recalled that Vanuatu was considered eligible for graduation from LDC status in 2006 and in 2009, but that the Government had opted to maintain its LDC status in order to, inter alia, enact policy interventions to address the impacts of graduation. The representative outlined the possible impacts on Vanuatu's economy of graduation from LDC status, noting that although the country had experienced positive economic growth over the past eight years, this growth was not evenly distributed, with the country's rural areas remaining underdeveloped and lacking in economic infrastructure. Until the gap between the urban and rural income is closed, the representative said, Vanuatu will continue to face significant challenges to inclusive development.

The representative further noted that although climate change remains a serious threat to the country, graduation likely would result in the loss of access to certain climate funding. The representative underlined that although the transition period is a temporary measure, Vanuatu's small size and vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters are permanent characteristics, and urged the UN to ensure that smaller island States graduating from LDC status continue to enjoy preferential treatment. [Statement of Vanuatu on LDC Graduation]