A three-day regional capacity building workshop on Least Developed Country (LDC) graduation begins today in Thimphu.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is organising the workshop to help countries understand the technicalities concerning graduation criteria, potential costs and challenges, and harnessing post-graduation conditionality to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Most importantly, this will provide a platform for exchange of knowledge and experiences between countries that have graduated and those that are graduating from the LCD category,” a press release from the foreign ministry states.

Over 50 participants from LDCs of the region including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Timor Leste and Vanuatu are participating in the workshop.

Graduating from the LDC category converges well with Bhutan’s ultimate vision of self-reliance. Based on the steady socio-economic progress the country has been making since the first five year Plan, Bhutan was considered eligible for graduation for the first time in 2015, the press release states.

“At the current trajectory, though still vulnerable, Bhutan is likely to be found eligible for graduation for the second time in 2018, implying complete graduation in 2022,” the press release stated.

Bhutan is one of the 47 LDCs, a group identified as having unique structural challenges that make achieving development progress and sustaining it over the long – term difficult. Of the 47 countries, 16 including Bhutan, also fall into the category of Land Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs), characterised by a lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from global markets and high transit costs.

Staff Reporter