Statement from the World Bank Group at the UN High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Disability

September 23, 2013

NEW YORK, September 23, 2013 – The following statement was issued by the World Bank Group on the occasion of the UN High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Disability and Development (HLMDD):

  • One billion people, or 15 percent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. One-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, encounter significant disabilities. Persons with disabilities on average as a group are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities, such as less education, worse health outcomes, less employment, and higher poverty rates.
  • The development consequences of disability should not be ignored.  And unless persons with disability are included into the post-2015 development agenda, this agenda will fail to be truly inclusive.
  • We at the World Bank Group have embraced the ideals of mainstreaming, so that persons with disabilities benefit from our development interventions on an equal basis as others. Disability and development is one of seven emerging topics that are being addressed by the World Bank review of safeguard policies and procedures.
  • We believe that increasing our understanding of exclusion and marginalization is the key to building a foundation for inclusive economic and social policies for the poorest and most vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities.
  • Over the past several years, the World Bank Group has been strengthening the inclusion of disability in development, and supporting countries in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Some recent examples of our work in this arena include: co-authoring the first-ever World Report on Disability with the World Health Organization, increasing support to projects with disability-focused interventions, mainstreaming disability in environmental, social, infrastructure, and poverty-reducing projects, and incorporating disability into our Guidance Note for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Performance Standards. We continue to sponsor the Global Partnership on Disability and Development and to work with partners on key global events such as this.
  • The World Bank Group remains committed to improving the lives of persons with disabilities globally and wishes the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the 68th UN General Assembly, Ambassador John Ashe, the Chair of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Maria Soledad Cisteras Reyes and representatives of the UN, governments, CSOs and stakeholders success for the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development being held on the 23rd of September, 2013.

“This April, the World Bank Group adopted the ambitious goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity by increasing income growth among the bottom 40 percent in every developing country,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “These two sets of goals are linked: we can’t end poverty and boost shared prosperity tomorrow without accelerating growth and the creation of quality jobs today. We recognize that including persons with disabilities – who are disproportionately affected by poverty and vulnerability – and expanding equitable opportunities for them, must be part of that vision.”


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