World Bank Commits to Disability Inclusion

As part of the Global Disability Summit in July, the World Bank made ambitious commitments to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities in its projects and programs. BIC welcomes these commitments and urges the World Bank to include persons with disabilities in developing the roadmap to achieving these targets.

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, BIC commends the World Bank for taking steps to systematically integrate disability into its projects and programs through setting ambitious targets for disability inclusion. These goals will require the Bank to look at how its projects have overlooked persons with disabilities in the past and to determine how persons with disabilities will be able to benefit from World Bank projects and programs moving forward.

The World Bank has committed to:

  1. Ensuring that all WB-financed education programs and projects are disability-inclusive by 2025.
  2. Ensuring that all WB-financed digital development projects are disability sensitive, including through the use of universal design and accessibility standards.
  3. 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.
  4. Introducing questions on disability into the Women, Business and the Law survey to better understand the economic empowerment of women with disabilities.
  5. Ensuring that all projects financing public facilities in post-disaster reconstruction are disability-inclusive by 2020.
  6. Ensuring that all WB-financed urban mobility and rail projects that support public transport services are disability-inclusive by 2025.
  7. Enhancing due diligence on private sector projects financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) regarding disability inclusion.
  8. Ensuring that 75 percent of WB-financed social protection projects are disability-inclusive by 2025.
  9. Increasing the number of staff with disabilities in the WBG.
  10. 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).

These commitments lay the foundation for disabled persons organizations and civil society to hold the Bank accountable for inclusive education and inclusive public transportation projects, among others. We recognize that in many sectors there is quite a long way to go to ensure education projects are truly inclusive, as many leave out students with disabilities. We also know that many public transportation projects are not designed using principles of universal access and are therefore not accessible for persons with disabilities. BIC looks forward to working with the international disability community to push the World Bank to design and implement inclusive projects and programs, with persons with disabilities involved throughout all stages of the project lifecycle. Only with the support of the disability community in helping to design, implement, and monitor projects will the Bank be able to achieve these commitments.