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BRIEF July 24, 2018

World Bank Group Commitments on Disability-Inclusive Development


Commitment 1: Inclusive Education

1.1. Building on the objective of SDG 4 (“ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”), we aim to make all the World Bank financed projects/programs in education disability inclusive by 2025.

Timeframe and/or implementation plan: Until 2025 for ensuring all education projects/programs are disability-inclusive.

1.2. The World Bank welcomes the opportunity to host the Initiative for Inclusive Education (IEI) with support from DFID and Norad which would support clients with the necessary technical expertise and resources to help catalyze their progress in reaching children with disabilities and in exploring innovative and inclusive pedagogies and learning environments with new ways of facilitating education.

Timeframe and/or implementation plan: Three years.

1.3. For private sector projects, IFC is committed to promoting an inclusive agenda, which includes the right environment for equal opportunities for people with disabilities (including physical, learning, sensory, emotional), as well as non-discrimination. The IFC Education team, together with input from the World Bank, aims to develop a set of principles for education investments which will help push forward the inclusion and non-discrimination agenda in the sector, complementing other relevant focus areas such as gender, race, ethnicity, language, harassment and will include specific references to disability inclusion.

Timeframe and/or implementation plan: Two years.

Commitment 2: Technology and Innovation

2.1. Building on the objective of SDG 9, all digital development projects will be screened to ensure that they are disability sensitive including through the use of universal design and accessibility standards.

Timeframe and/or implementation plan:

Achieving disability inclusion and empowerment demands transformative shifts and innovative solutions for removing structural barriers. Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities in this regard, particularly for persons with disabilities, children with disabilities, and many persons with invisible disabilities experiencing marginalization.

Social innovations have the potential to serve as a powerful tool to break trends and increase the awareness, access and availability of opportunities for marginalized groups. Innovative approaches are central to delivering the SDGs for all. Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-enabled services and resources are often major elements of development projects, including initiatives to promote access to banking, expand health care, education, and income generation, strengthen disaster response and management, or access any government-related services. ICT can make previously inaccessible forms of written and spoken communication accessible to all. The multiple modes of communication can improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities in an affordable way.

2.2. IFC will consider initiatives that could facilitate the deployment of assistive technologies in emerging markets. IFC and DFID have agreed to fund a feasibility study to help inform how best to accelerate the deployment of assistive technologies in the emerging markets.  IFC will also be introducing a category for awards on Assistive Technology as part of the Financial Times/IFC Transformational Business Awards to give greater visibility to this agenda.

Timeframe and/or implementation plan: One year.

Commitment 3: Data Disaggregation

Commit resources to support strengthened disability data. Under the World Bank Strategy for Household Surveys to address data deprivation, the WBG will provide technical assistance and analytical support to client countries in their efforts to scale up the collection, and the effective use, of disability data from future national surveys and population censuses, guided by global standards and best practices, such as the Washington Group’s short-set disability questions. The WBG will provide its project staff with clear and openly accessible guidelines for disability data collection based on the Washington Group disability questions for them to provide appropriate advice to its client countries.

Timeframe and/or implementation plan:  

In the short and medium-term, the World Bank Group commits to work with countries to:

  1. Take stock of disability data in existing household surveys and censuses to establish a baseline
  2. Include the Washington Group short set disability questions in all censuses of the 2020 round supported by World Bank Group, via lending and/or TA.
  3. Incorporate the Washington Group short set questions in at least 12 countries with upcoming household surveys supported by the WBG until 2020.
  4. Aim for use of Washington Group short set questions in at least 50% of WBG supported household surveys in LICs and LMICs from 2021 onwards.
  5. Provide Technical Assistance that nudges all countries working with the WBG on collecting Household Surveys to use the Washington Group short set disability questions as a default. The WBG will adapt its household survey guidance to recommend the Washington Group short set disability questions as best practice to collect data for disaggregating by disability. Furthermore, even among surveys not supported by the WBG, the WBG will advocate for collection of disability data using the Washington Group short set questions.
  6. Include profiles of the disabled population in our publications such as poverty assessments and poverty and equity briefs, as data becomes available. This will help make this invisible dimension, much more visible in everything we do.

In the long term we will work towards mainstreaming of the inclusive data agenda in all countries we support by also building administrative systems to collect data on disability going forward.          

Commitment 4: Women and Girls with Disabilities

The WBG commits to exploring opportunities to focus more deliberately on the economic empowerment of women and girls with disabilities.

Timeframe and/or implementation plan:

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), housed at the World Bank, creates a unique opportunity to tackle, comprehensively, the full range of barriers facing women entrepreneurs across developing countries. Future rounds of We-Fi funding provide opportunities to focus more deliberately on the economic empowerment of women and girls with disabilities, by addressing the policy and regulatory frameworks; designing projects, for example, in the transport and ICT sectors, with a gender disability lens; and developing and rolling out new products, for example, disability insurance. The next round of the Women, Business and Law survey, feeding into a dataset on the laws and regulations that restrict women's economic opportunities, will include questions on legislation and protections for women with disabilities.

Commitment 5: People with Disabilities in Humanitarian Contexts

Our projects financing public facilities in post-disaster reconstruction efforts will be disability-inclusive by 2020.

Timeframe and/or implementation plan: By 2020, incorporating universal access features in design.

Commitment 6: Transport

By 2025 all new urban mobility and rail projects supporting public transport services will be inclusive in their designs so as to incorporate key universal access features for people with disability and limited mobility.

Ensuring that equity considerations, including access to persons with disabilities, continue to remain at the forefront of the Sustainable Mobility for All initiative (SuM4All). Currently under this initiative a Global Roadmap of Action is being developed by over 50+ global actors in transport. Under the Universal Access theme (one of 5 themes) the roadmap will propose actionable recommendations with regard to access for persons with disabilities.

Advocate for enhanced road safety outcomes, given that road crashes are one of the most significant public health issues of the century, causing both death and disability. This work will be led by the Global Road Safety Facility which provides funding, knowledge, policy guidance, and technical assistance and generates research to leverage road safety investments in transport and health operations. New funding from DfiD and DHSC (UK Health Department) has been committed to support a specific research program on disability from road crashes.

Commitment 7: Private Sector

Enhanced due diligence on private sector projects. IFC will consider ways to enhance its due diligence regarding disability inclusion, including encouraging clients to adopt Good International Industry Practice (GIIP) related to disability inclusion and access.  IFC will also prepare a Good Practice Note on DI in collaboration with CDC/DFID.

Timeframe for enhanced due diligence related commitment: 18 months.

Commitment 8: Social Protection

Three quarters (75%) of Social Protection projects will be disability inclusive by 2025.

Commitment 9: Staffing

Increase the number of staff with disabilities in the WBG. Currently, the Bank follows a process of voluntary disclosure of staff with disabilities. The Bank commits to actively seeking to hire and retaining staff with disabilities, and to improving accessibility, services and inclusion.

Commitment 10: Disability Inclusion and Accountability Framework

Promote the Disability Inclusion and Accountability Framework among World Bank staff as a way to support the World Bank Group’s new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF).

Learn more about the World Bank Group’s work on disability inclusion at: