VANGO amongst Pacific NGO’s to call for review to criteria for LDC graduation

Vanuatu Non-Government Organisation executives have returned from a high level Regional Consultation of Pacific LDCs Civil Society Organisations in Fiji, where concerns were raised at the way LDC countries were being analyzed to qualify for graduation.

The VANGO team was led by its President Lai Sakita, accompanied by Vice Treasurer Anne Pakoa and Secretary Harold Obed. They were amongst activists contributing to concerns that some vital elements of livelihood such as climate change and value of tradition were ignored in the UN analysis of rating to qualify LDC’s for graduation.

Currently, the CDP decides the threshold of the indicators for inclusion and graduation of a country based on three main areas: 1. Its Income Criterion – based on three year average of GNI per capita; 2. The Human Assets Criterion – based on Indicators of education, health, nutrition, adult literacy rate; and 3. Its Economic Vulnerability Criterion- based on indicators of population size, remoteness, export concentration, share of agriculture/ forestry / fisheries, instability of agriculture production, population living low coastal areas, instability of export of goods and services.

Following graduation, there is smooth transition period for up to 9 nine years from the effective date of graduation. This means LDC Specific support is phased out gradually and predictably in order to avoid disrupting country’s graduation process. However some trading partners have adopted policies to extend their support to transition period but some have not.

The Suva meeting that was held last week deliberated on the development challenges faced by Pacific LDCs and their graduation from LDC category with lessons learnt from Samoa’s graduation experience, updates from each country and presentations from regional and development partners

A statement said the Pacific NGO’s members noted that Sustained Graduation of LDCs is largely depending on the fulfilment of commitments of Development Partners. And it is also dependent on the national transition strategy that the country develops to take it through the transition process. By and large a systematic smooth transition process is not there.

Following various presentations made by LDC Watch, PIFs, and other regional institutions, members of PIANGO felt that there is a need for new statistical measures which are more appropriate for analyzing the LDCs and SIDs realities, vulnerabilities and resilience.

VANGO President said Lai Sakita was pleased that Pacific regional institutions are creating space for NGOs through consultations and dialogue. ‘I also wish to see the Melanesian Spearhead Group providing the same sub-regional space to NGOs for partnership and consultations.

Declarations from the 3 day Suva meeting are expected to be released soon. It included a call for Pacific LDCs’ governments and the development partners to review the graduation process and criteria by ensuring that negative impacts are addressed through policy interventions targeted towards our vulnerabilities and capacity development.