Effect of COVID-19 pandemic on development goals

KATHMANDU: A draft report of the study titled ‘Rapid Assessment of Socio-Economic Impact of COVID-19 in Nepal’ says Nepal’s eligibility for graduating from the status of least developed country (LDC) in 2021 firmly rests on non-income criteria that comprise of major ‘stock’ indicators which are cumulative in nature.

“It can still expect to graduate in 2021 and go through a threeyear transition period until 2024,” says the report commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme in Nepal. The preparatory period may be longer than three years during which period LDCs continue to benefit from special support measures.

Nepal can also expect to reach a respectable lower middle-income level by 2030. The attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), however, will now become a greater challenge especially if Nepal’s revenue base and foreign grants shrink, while competition for concessional foreign borrowing stiffens over the next few years, the report has warned.

“Already, Nepal has a glaring financing gap in its annual SDG investment needs.”

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 17, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.