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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).



11 February 2016Financing Rural Structural Transformation in the Least Developed Countries
25 November 2015Least Developed Countries Report 2015
Kampot Pepper
26 October 2015Premium Cambodian pepper shows how poor countries can successfully trade rural products
12 October 2015At Manila workshop, stakeholders ask how poor countries in Asia and the Pacific can put into place development-oriented trade policies
Goal 17
08 October 2015Improving Market Access for the Least Developed Countries in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
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 Documents and Publications

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