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publicationApril 20, 2022

The World Bank Technical Note on Accessibility

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Along with participation and non-discrimination, accessibility is a prerequisite for fostering social inclusion. Without access to buildings, transportation, communication, and information, a person’s participation and full inclusion cannot be ensured, and persons with disabilities will remain unable to fully benefit from the World Bank’s development investments. In addition, recent examples of global crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, remind us that much remains to be done to address persistent and emerging accessibility barriers that sustain inequalities and exclude persons with disabilities as well as other vulnerable groups.

Purpose of the Technical Note

This Note describes various accessibility barriers, recommendations, methodologies, and strategies, with a particular focus on persons with disabilities. However, as highlighted throughout the entire document, it is stressed that accessibility is a universal issue that concerns a much larger population and intersects with other identities, including those of children, older persons, persons who have terminal or transient illnesses/diseases, women and girls, Indigenous Peoples, youth, sexual and gender minorities, people with temporary injuries, and mothers/fathers/caregivers using strollers and other supportive devices to carry their children.

The Technical Note on Accessibility is primarily meant for World Bank Task Team Leaders (TTLs), Project Implementing Units (PIUs) and Environmental & Social (E&S) specialists. However, it can also serve as a reference for other internal teams that are working on accessibility issues with the private sector (for example with the International Finance Corporation, IFC), and the procurement sector, as well as for the Bank’s development partners, borrowing countries, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs). This Note focuses primarily on Investment Project Financing (IPF).

Structure of the Technical Note

PART 1: The Narrative

Insight on what is meant by accessibility, why it is important for the World Bank and for borrowers, what essential conditions should be assessed and addressed in order to improve accessibility at the national level, and what strategic activities should be proposed, negotiated, and supported by the Bank.

PART 2: Project Cycle Guidance

Key steps of the project cycle in which accessibility issues should be included.

PART 3: Thematic Fact Sheets

Practical applications and examples from various World Bank operational sectors

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