Disability as a cross-cutting theme in IDA 19 presents an opportunity to ensure the systematic inclusion of persons with disabilities in World Bank projects as well as in the supports and services provided by the government in IDA countries. The recognition of the need to address the most marginalized, particularly persons with disabilities, will enable the Bank to move a step closer to achieving its twin goals of eliminating poverty and boosting shared prosperity. With strong policy commitments, the Bank can also help to strengthen IDA government capacity to adequately address the needs of persons with disabilities.
The focus on inclusion and a fundamental need to share in project benefits is crucial. We have seen persons with disabilities continually not consulted, overlooked in project design, and in many cases harmed or not able to share in project benefits. But disability as a cross-cutting theme in IDA 19 can change that so that persons with disabilities have access to quality education that will enable them to obtain good jobs and to receive the necessary supports and services in fragile and conflict settings. It can also help to highlight the fact that persons with disabilities can face multiple forms of exclusion and discrimination, often depending on their gender.
The World Bank must make a policy commitment in IDA 19 to adopt an inclusive approach to all its projects and programs in IDA countries, including by building statistical capacity across the World Bank to collect disaggregated data on the number of persons with disabilities impacted, either positively or negatively, by projects. This will help to close knowledge gaps in project design and implementation. This must also be backed by a commitment to support IDA countries in strengthening government supports and services for persons with disabilities, including providing technical assistance to ministries to address gaps in health, education, employment, housing, and transportation informed by disability disaggregated data.