Persons with disabilities are continually overlooked in World Bank project design and often have difficulty accessing government services. To ensure the needs and rights of persons with disabilities are adequately addressed in World Bank projects and in basic government services, it is imperative that each of the five IDA 19 Special Themes--Gender; Jobs and Economic Transformation; Governance and Institutions; Climate Change; and Fragility, Conflict and Violence--include standalone policy commitments on disability.
Each of the Special Themes is uniquely relevant to persons with disabilities and therefore should include different, targeted objectives in order to ensure persons with disabilities can benefit from World Bank projects and access government services in these areas. For example, a commitment to support at least 25 IDA countries in strengthening government supports and services for persons with disabilities could be included under the Governance and Institutions Special Theme. Under Jobs and Economic Transformation, IDA could commit to supporting at least 10 countries in collecting data on the employment of persons with disabilities and increasing the employment rate for persons with disabilities by creating decent jobs and bringing them into the labor market.
Ultimately, if disability is not specifically and explicitly addressed under each Special Theme, there is a risk that it will be conflated with other issues or not addressed in a meaningful way to ensure persons with disabilities can benefit from World Bank projects and government services. Without these explicit commitments, the World Bank cannot move a step closer to achieving its mission of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity, and persons with disabilities will continue to be left out of World Bank and government programming.