World Bank Announces Plans to Advocate for LGBTI Rights

Concerned about protecting the rights of long ostracized groups that are, just now, beginning to gain legal and cultural recognition around the world, the World Bank Group announced plans to protect the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals.

As a global financial institution, it seeks to exert financial pressure to achieve these goals, and it has further announced plans to hire a sexual orientation and gender identity adviser to work both internally and with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and other organizations to implement a “strategic global research agenda” for LGBTI rights.

The Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference will take place later this year in Montevideo, Uruguay. The World Bank wishes to use the momentum created by that event to introduce new social policies, approaches, and lessons for client nations regarding LGBTI rights and issues.

According to the Bank’s announcement, the new adviser will advise management and staff on “strategy, policy and operational issues related to [LGBTI]-inclusive development.” This post will be part of a social development team that already includes personnel to address rights of indigenous people, those with disabilities, and those otherwise disadvantaged in financial development in their home country.

According to Maninder Gill, Director of the Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilient Global Practice at the World Bank, “We do not see this adviser as … the lone custodian of the LGBTI agenda. The idea is that this should be a broadly owned and shared agenda.” He added that this adviser would be responsible for coordinating efforts with different parts of the bank and external stakeholders and making the process more systematic.

In addition to this new LGBTI adviser, the World Bank will collaborate with the United Nations Development Program, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop a unified research agenda for LGBTI rights.

“We want to develop a strategic global research agenda, so that…even with such few analytical initiatives or research initiatives going on, we [don’t] end up duplicating what we are doing,” Gill said.

Furthering the cause, the World Bank, UNDP, and OHCHR are working together to co-author a report on this new LGBTI initiative. These new initiatives are part of an overarching push to combat discrimination in all of its forms. While research continuously proves a link between gross domestic product (GDP) and discrimination, discriminatory legislation continues to exist around the world.