Least developed countries category: Rationale and impact

50 years after the creation of the category, FERDI's work on LDCs focuses on the rationale of the category, including improving the identification of LDCs, and the effectiveness of measures taken in their favour.



  • Identification of LDCs. FERDI’s work focuses on the rationale of the category and the improvement of LDC identification.  The reference book Caught in a Trap, Identifying the least developed countries, published in English in 2009, presents the foundations of the LDC category and argues that they should have a special treatment, because they are poor countries facing severe structural handicaps to their development. Today, FERDI demonstrates that the category, still comprising 46 member countries, keeps its rationale, but its consistency could be strengthened by modernising the criteria used to identify LDCs and enhancing the role that vulnerability could play in these criteria  (Guillaumont P, 2021 :  The Rationale of the Least Developed  Countries Category over Half a  Century). 
  • Assessing the effectiveness of support measures taken in favor of LDCs. The book Out of the trap. Supporting the Least Developed Countries, is the first comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of measures taken in favor of LDCs. It is a collective work with contributions by 10 academics. The book is being revised for a second edition. 

Achievements 2022-2023

Involvement in the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Doha, held in March 2023. FERDI supports the plea of vulnerable countries to adopt a universal, multidimensional and structural vulnerability index.

Alongside the OECD Development Centre and UNU-WIDER, FERDI is involved in the "LDC 5 Monitor" project, a follow-up to the LDC4 Monitor.  Bringing together several think tanks and institutions from the North and South, the purpose of the LDC5 Monitor will be to take an independent look at the implementation of the Doha agenda. As such it would examine the extent to which this implementation addresses the vulnerabilities characteristic of LDCs and contributes to their structural transformation. This initiative has received the support of Finland, France, as well as the endorsement of UN-OHRLLS. The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), the Commonwealth Secretariat and various other countries have also expressed interest in participating. Under this initiative, Ferdi would be specifically responsible for monitoring the vulnerability of LDCs. 

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