unctad.org | Trade and Development Board, 64th executive session
Trade and Development Board, 64th executive session
06 - 08 February 2017
Room XXVI, Palais des Nations
Geneva, Switzerland

Key Issues

Presentation of the Least Developed Countries Report 2016: The Road to Graduation and Beyond - Making the Most of the Process

Graduation is the process through which a country ceases to be a least developed country, having in principle overcome the structural handicaps that warrant special support from the international community, beyond that generally granted to other developing countries.

The Least Developed Countries Report 2016: The Path to Graduation and Beyond - Making the Most of the Process argues that graduation should be regarded, not as a winning post, but rather as a milestone in a country's long-term economic and social development. Thus, the focus should not be on graduation itself, but rather on "graduation with momentum", which will lay the foundations for long-term development and allow potential pitfalls to be avoided far beyond the country's exit from the least developed country category.


Projections conducted for the Report suggest that only 10 of the 48 current least developed countries are likely to fulfil the graduation criteria by 2020, well short of the international target of half the number of those countries (24).

The Report highlights the need for least developed countries to move from graduation strategies focused on qualification for graduation to "graduation-plus" strategies that take a long-term perspective and foster structural transformation. Elements of such strategies include industrial policies, agricultural upgrading, scaling up of public investment and steps to address gender inequality.

Panel Discussion on Sustainable Energy for Structural Transformation in Least Developed Countries

Affordable, reliable and sustainable energy provision is critical for powering structural transformation in the least developed countries (LDCs) and enabling their transition towards a low-carbon economy. Ensuring universal access to energy is hence fundamental to achieve LDCs' sustainable development objectives.

The relevance of energy issues is even greater in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal (Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all), as well as two more Goals directly linked to the theme (Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation), and (Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns).

The panel will discuss the following questions:

  • How should LDCs best steer their sustainable energy mix to support structural transformation and poverty eradication?
  • What are the possible financing alternatives to cover LDCs' huge energy investment needs?
  • What is the potential for more energy-efficient technologies and cost reductions in renewable energy (including biofuel technologies) in LDCs?
  • To what extent do the current energy policy choices of LDCs condition the longer-term composition of output, employment and trade in these countries?



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Language(s):English; French; Spanish; Chinese; Russian; Arabic;
UNCTAD secretariat
Intergovernmental Support Service
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Fax: 41 22 917 0214
E-mail: meetings@unctad.org

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