Comparison of Indicators for Identification of Least Developed Countries and for Measuring Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals
UN CDP Policy Review No. 7
23 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2019
Date Written: November 26, 2018
This paper provides an overview on the interlinkage between Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) achievement and Least Developed Country (LDC) graduation, by examining the relationship between the indicators to be used for monitoring progress toward SDGs, and the ones currently used for LDC classification and also the ones considered by the Committee for Development Policy in the past. It aims to assist the policy makers to enhance effectiveness of their development policies, by taking into consideration the indicators of the SDG review framework and the ones in the LDC classification that are related to one another. It finds that there is a fundamental conceptual difference between the objectives of SDG monitoring indicators and the LDC classification indicators: while SDG monitoring indicators aim to measure outcomes of development progress, LDC indicators attempts to measure structural factors that hinders development. This difference in objective results in difference in the selection and interpretation of indicators. Nevertheless, there is a substantive overlap between the SDG review indicators and LDC indicators, because some of the indicators can have characteristics of both development outcome and structural handicap to some extent: 11 out of 17 SDGs have targets explicitly linked to LDC criteria. On the other direction, 12 out of 14 LDC indicators are related to SDG indicators. For SDG 5 (gender), 6 (water and sanitation), 7 (energy), 12 (consumption and production), 15 (life on earth), and 16 (peace), none of their targets is covered by the current LDC criteria, although many of the indicators associated with those goals have been investigated and rejected by the Committee in the past for various reasons. Since two agenda aim for conceptually different goal posts, making efforts in full capacity on both fronts – overcoming constraints and moving toward outcomes – is the only way to graduate from LDC category and to accomplish the Agenda 2030, leaving no country or no people behind.
Keywords: Least Developed Country, Sustainable Development, Graduation
JEL Classification: E17, O10, O49, O57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation