There is no established convention for the designation of "developing", "transition" and "developed" countries or areas in the United Nations system. The designation of economies used in this handbook is the classification used by UNCTAD. The differentiation between developing and developed economies follows, in general, the definition of the M49 classification ( United Nations, 2017d ). However, there are exceptions. Notably, the group ‘Transition economies’ that was established to take account of the particular circumstances of that group of economies; shaped by socialism and the transition to a market economy. The geographic locations of developing, transition and developed economies are depicted by the map below.
Throughout the handbook, the group of developing economies is further broken down into the following three regions: "Africa", "America", "Asia and Oceania". Furthermore, whenever possible, data are also presented for the following eight groups:
- developing economies excluding China,
- developing economies excluding LDCs,
- LDCs, according to the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) ( United Nations, 2017e),
- LLDCs, according to UN-OHRLLS (ibid.),
- SIDS according to UNCTAD (2017d),
- HIPC, according to the International Monetary Fund (2017),
- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS),
- Group of Twenty (G20) (Germany, 2017).
The UNCTADstat classification page ( UNCTAD, 2017a) provides the lists of the economies included in the different groups.