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"Maldives expresses solidarity and reiterates its full support to LDCs and LLDCs and calls for review of graduation criteria "

19 October 2016, New York: Addressing the Economic and Financial (Second) Committee of the United Nations under the theme "Groups of Countries in Special Situations", His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the UN, expressed his solidarity with other countries in special situations like the LDCs and LLDCs and reaffirmed his country's support for them.

Ambassador Sareer recounted Maldives' experience of graduating from LDC status, noting that the use of GDP per capita as a determining criterion for assessment is not holistic. Given the challenges island states like the Maldives have faced because of huge developmental losses in the face of disasters, he argued that, "GDP per capita fails to fully reflect the country's vulnerabilities due to structural challenges, its resilience to exogenous shocks or its ability to deal with new crises, or account for wealth inequalities".  H.E Mr Sareer also noted that after the loss of LDC status, the government of the Maldives invested heavily in diversifying their economy in a bid to increase resilience from shocks as well as prioritised investments in human development.

Graduation assessments are done on the basis of economic, environmental and institutional vulnerabilities, however in majority of cases, one or more of the three indicators are overridden, which is especially problematic for the LDCs that are also island states. Ambassador Sareer concluded by noting the need for further review of the current criteria and measuring system and stressed that graduation should be an aspiration and a cause to celebrate, rather than an "abrupt stumbling block for countries that are working hard on their development".

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