Nepal meets criteria to be listed as middle income developing country, to be passed in the next UN Assembly General

KATHMANDU: Nepal has met the criteria to be upgraded from the list of least developed countries as a middle-income developing country. The final resolution in this regard is being prepared to be passed by the next General Assembly of the United Nations. 

The UN Economic and Social Council has also agreed in principle to submit the proposal to the next General Assembly for approval. This time, the UN General Assembly is being held in September. 

According to Amrit Rai, Chief of Nepal’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, a recent meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council in New York has recommended that Nepal can now be upgraded from a low-income country to a middle-income country.  

“We had met two of the three criteria for this upgrade in 2015 and 2018, which paved the way for Nepal,” said Representative Rai, “At the time, we were facing a natural disaster and we had requested that the issue be held for the time being,” he said. “It is now in the process of being approved.”

Nepal is on the list of eligible countries as it has met two of the three criteria set by the United Nations: Per Capita Income, Human Property Index and Economic and Environmental Vulnerability Index. 

After approval of the decision, it normally takes three years to formulate an additional action plan for transitional management. However, due to the inconvenience posed by the coronavirus crisis, this period has been extended to five years after the request made by the government of Nepal and thus this shall be completed by 2026. For this, the UN Committee called ‘Policy for Development’ had made a recommendation last February saying that Nepal is now capable of the upgrade. 

Nepal will strategize on the challenges it will face after the upgrade. After research for the next three years, the necessary budget has to be formulated. In particular, various grants and assistance programs provided by international aid groups as a least developed country will be cut and additional tax burden will have to be borne on export-oriented trade, which will weaken Nepal’s competitiveness in the international market. This will be a challenge for which Nepal has to strategize. For this, Nepal is ready to work by setting up a mechanism in the National Planning Commission. 

Nepal has been listed as an underdeveloped country in the United Nations for the past 50 years. In 1971, Nepal was listed as an LDC (Least Developed Country).  

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