Including persons with disabilities and expanding equitable opportunities are at the core of the World Bank’s work to build sustainable, inclusive communities, aligned with the institution’s goals to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.
Specifically, the World Bank integrates disability into development through its analytical work, data, and good-practice policies. The Bank also integrates disability issues into its operations across a wide range of sectors, including promoting access to infrastructure facilities and social services, rehabilitation, skills development, creating economic opportunities, and working with Disabled People’s Organizations, focusing on the most vulnerable among people with disabilities, such as women and children, and influencing policies and institutional development. The Global Disability Advisor’s team serves as a focal point for ongoing advisory and analytical support to operational teams on disability-inclusive approaches in project design and implementation. The World Bank launched its first Disability Inclusion and Accountability Framework in June 2018 to offer a roadmap for:
- Including disability in the World Bank’s policies, operations, and analytical work; and
- Building internal capacity for supporting clients in implementing disability-inclusive development programs.
The framework is relevant to policymakers, government officials, other development organizations, and persons with disabilities.
At the Global Disability Summit hosted in the United Kingdom in July 2018, the World Bank Group made ten commitments to accelerate global action for disability-inclusive development in key areas such as education, digital development, data collection, gender, post-disaster reconstruction, transport, private sector investments, and social protection. These are:
- Ensuring that all WB-financed education programs and projects are disability-inclusive by 2025.
- Ensuring that all WB-financed digital development projects are disability sensitive, including through the use of universal design and accessibility standards.
- Scaling up disability data collection and use, guided by global standards and best practices, such as using the Washington Group’s Short Set of Questions on Disability.
- Introducing questions on disability into the Women, Business and the Law survey to better understand the economic empowerment of women with disabilities.
- Ensuring that all projects financing public facilities in post-disaster reconstruction are disability-inclusive by 2020.
- Ensuring that all WB-financed urban mobility and rail projects that support public transport services are disability-inclusive by 2025.
- Enhancing due diligence on private sector projects financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) regarding disability inclusion.
- Ensuring that 75% of WB-financed social protection projects are disability-inclusive by 2025.
- Increasing the number of staff with disabilities in the WBG.
- Promoting the Disability Inclusion and Accountability Framework among World Bank staff as a way to support the WB’s new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF).
The World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) includes a strong provision designed to make sure that the interests of persons with disabilities are protected and included, requiring the borrower to look specifically at disability as part of any social assessments. Disabled Persons’ Organizations and experts on disability inclusion participated actively in the consultations on the Safeguards reform.
The ESF makes several direct references to safeguarding the interests of persons with disabilities and protecting them from unsafe working conditions. It encourages borrowers to undertake reasonable accommodation measures to adapt the workplace to include workers with disabilities, as well as to provide information in accessible formats. Furthermore, the ESF also requires borrowers to undertake meaningful consultations with stakeholders to learn their views on project risks, impacts, and mitigation measures.
In addition, the World Bank has issued a Directive on addressing project risks and impacts on disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, which also addresses the inclusion of persons with disabilities. The Disability Inclusion and Accountability Framework is aligned with the ESF and will offer a thematic blueprint to support disability-inclusive investments.
Working with International Development Association
The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank that helps the world's poorest countries. The IDA19 Replenishment will ensure that development is inclusive and benefits all people – women, men, youth, and those living with disability. Deliberate efforts will be made to incorporate the needs of persons with disabilities into the design and delivery of IDA19 operations. To this end, proposed IDA19 policy commitments embed disability inclusion:
- 50% of entrepreneurship and micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) projects will incorporate digital financial services and / or digital entrepreneurship elements – and ensure they address particular constraints facing women and persons with disabilities.
- At least 20 fragile, conflict-affected IDA country portfolios will support improvements in social sector service delivery (health, education, and social protection), with a focus on addressing the differential constraints faced by men and women, boys and girls, and by people with disabilities.
- Support 12 IDA countries to adopt universally accessible GovTech solutions.
- Support institutions and build capacity in 30 IDA countries, including those with ongoing statistical operations, to reduce gaps in the availability of core data for evidence-based policy making, including disaggregation by sex and disability.
Last Updated: Oct 02, 2019