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

See all articles by Namsuk Kim

Namsuk Kim

United Nations - Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

Date Written: November 26, 2018

Abstract

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

Kim, Namsuk, Comparison of Indicators for Identification of Least Developed Countries and for Measuring Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals (November 26, 2018). UN CDP Policy Review No. 7. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3299967 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3299967

Namsuk Kim (Contact Author)

United Nations - Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) ( email )

New York, NY 10017
United States

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