5 Feb 2009

Vanuatu disputes incorrect findings which could see it lose LDC status at UN

12:45 pm on 5 February 2009

The Vanuatu government says it can't accept the country's graduation to developing country status at the United Nations if it's based on incorrect facts and statistics.

A government delegation has returned from New York where it presented its case before the UN Committee for Economic and Social Commission, or ECOSOC, to be able to retain Least Developed Country status.

LDC status gives Vanuatu various privileges like market access for exports as well as special treatment in areas including trade, foreign aid and interest rates.

Vanuatu's Finance Minister, Sela Molisa, who led the delegation, says he disputed recent findings which show Vanuatu meeting the criteria for graduation at the next ECOSOC meeting in May.

Mr Molisa says in particular, findings from Vanuatu's international trading partners that the country's per capita income has increased and about improved indicators on the Human Assets Index are incorrect.

"We told the UN we will accept if Vanuatu has to graduate because we've met those criteria that the UN has set. There's no problem with that. Our problem is they're not basing our graduation on true facts."

Sela Molisa