Charlotte Vuyiswa McClain-Nhlapo

Happy New Year to all! Thank you for inviting me to this forum. This is an important question. I want to offer a few insights to get the discussion going. In the development space, we increasingly see the importance of voice, accountability, and participation – particularly of excluded groups as markers of good program design and robust policy formulation.   The World Bank interacts with hundreds of Civil Society Organizations worldwide every day, engaging with them through information sharing, policy dialogue, strategy consultation, operational collaboration, and institutional partnerships. In addition, the Bank has instruments/tools it uses to facilitate these consultations and engagements- one such tool is the Stakeholder Engagement Plan.  This tool operationalizes the  Environmental and Social Framework, which guides the Banks projects and embeds a standard that requires stakeholder engagement and specifically takes account of the importance of ensuring that stakeholder consultations are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Across the globe,  Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (ODPs) have advocated for and continue to lead the discourse on disability-inclusive development often framed by the contours of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With this expertise and the lived experience (nothing about us, without us), ODPs are well placed to engage in the design of projects and policy development robustly.  This is best done through engaging with the local Bank office and the government counterpart responsible for the project. This requires ODPs to be aware of forthcoming consultations in your particular country. Furthermore, ODP’s can also play a significant role in sharing knowledge that can contribute to policy design that addresses the key development challenges faced by persons with disabilities. A good way to do this is by exploring opportunities to consult on Bank-financed projects. Finally, forging partnerships with the Bank is a good way to stay engaged in a meaningful way. Here I recommend inviting Bank staff to learning events on various aspects of disability-inclusive development, actively participating in Bank events, and networking. A lot of this is already happening on the ground, so I look forward to hearing from you about your experiences of engaging with the Bank and other Multi Development Banks and how best we can strengthen this important relationship.