World Bank Announces New Advisor on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues

October 27, 2016

WASHINGTON, October 27, 2016World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today announced Clifton Cortez as the Bank’s Advisor on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) issues – a newly created senior position responsible for promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) inclusion throughout the work of the World Bank.

In his position as SOGI Advisor, Cortez will oversee expanding the inclusion of LGBTI groups through Bank operations and will serve as a liaison to external groups.

Cortez has more than 20 years of professional experience working in developing countries with the UNDP and USAID, focusing on health, HIV, and sustainable development – including the important intersection of sexual orientation, gender identity, and development. Most recently, he managed UNAIDS partnerships, in which he played a key role in UNDP leadership addressing the broader governance, law, and human rights challenges faced by LGBTI people.

The creation of a senior-level position for LGBTI builds on the World Bank efforts to develop a coordinated, strategic approach to inclusion and gender equality.  The Bank has established a multi-sectoral Task Force to spearhead work in this area, and is adding staff to monitor the environment for LGBTI persons in countries around the world. It is also increasing research on the economic impact of discrimination against LGBTI persons, as well as other groups.

“Discrimination against any group is not only morally wrong, it stands in the way of sustained, balanced, and inclusive economic growth,” said Kim. “There is very little data on the economic impacts of LGBTI discrimination, and we need to strengthen our case for economic inclusion.  We must end the discriminatory practices that prevent LGBTI persons from accessing jobs, education, health care, financial markets, housing, and other areas necessary for economic growth and stability.”

The Bank has launched several LGBTI data-collection and research initiatives this year, and is working with the United Nations on a coordinated research agenda. In addition, the World Bank was the first international financial institution to offer health insurance for same-sex couples, and has offered Domestic Partner benefits to same-sex couples for over 10 years. 

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