Vanuatu’s graduation to developing country status delayed
Vanuatu’s graduation from United Nations’ least developed to developing country status will be deferred.
The country has been looking forward to its graduation which had been scheduled for 4 December this year, as sign of development progress.
However, Roy Micky Joy, Director General of Vanuatu’s Ministry of Trade says the impacts of natural disasters that Vanuatu has recently experienced, will delay the graduation.
Vanuatu has been struggling with the impacts of Cyclone Pam in 2015 and now Cyclone Harold and COVID-19 in 2020.
“In the next two weeks, government officials will prepare an application to request the Council of Minister’s endorsement for us to write to the UN and ask for the delay of this graduation again,” Roy Micky Joy said.
“I feel that the damage done to our islands in the North and Shefa means that in fact Vanuatu is not ready.”
The Director General says the UN’s international committee cannot force Vanuatu to graduate this year with what Vanuatu is experiencing.
He says Vanuatu’s planned graduation had been based on long-running discussions and had shown the nation’s political achievement.
Vanuatu has been scheduled to graduate to developing country status in 2015 but this was pushed back to 2020 due to Cyclone Pam’s impact on the country.
Vanuatu’s graduation will present opportunities and some challenges as it means the country will need to negotiate new trade agreements when its special trade arrangements expire with the change of status.
The Trade Ministry says overcoming these is critical for a smooth transition process and the long-term development of the country.
Vanuatu and three Pacific neighbours, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, also have Least Developed Country status.
Vanuatu has had Least Developed Country status since 1985. Least Developed Country’s recognized globally as countries that struggle with sustaining human and social development.
To foster their development, they receive special attention from the international community.
This includes, receiving benefits such as easier access to development finance, trade and market access, technology transfer, and technical assistance.