Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
Research and Policy Analysis on LDCs  

Since 1971, the United Nations has recognized  "least developed countries" (LDCs)  as a category of States that are deemed highly disadvantaged in their development process, for structural, historical and also geographical reasons. LDCs face more than other countries the risk of deeper poverty and remaining in a situation of underdevelopment. More than 75 per cent of the LDCs' population still live in poverty. These countries are also characterized by their vulnerability to external economic shocks, natural and man-made disasters and communicable diseases. As such, the LDCs are in need of the highest degree of attention from the international community.

Currently, the 48 LDCs comprise around 880 million people, 12 per cent of the world population, which face severe structural impediments to growth. However, the LDCs account for less than 2 per cent of world GDP and around 1 per cent of world trade.

Four United Nations Conferences on the LDCs were held in: 1981, 1990, 2001 and 2011. The Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries adopted the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 - the so-called Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA).



06 June 2017The clock is ticking for world leaders to generate wealth from sustainable fisheries
13 December 2016Poverty trap leaves least developed countries ever further behind
09 December 2016From Bhutan's red rice to goat meat from Mozambique, unique products can boost exports from the poorest countries
Flag of Timor-Leste
07 December 2016Lower oil prices threaten Timor-Leste graduation from "least developed" status
25 August 2016UNCTAD fisheries project facilitates south-south partnerships
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