Submission on World Bank Safeguard Policy Review, focusing on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression


The proposed draft of the World Bank Environmental and Social Safeguards lists women, girls, and gender and sexual minorities as “vulnerable groups.” In doing so, however, it fails to fully grasp how each group is uniquely vulnerable to human rights abuses due to societal prejudices and legal barriers.  

Persons with a non-conforming sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or varying gender expression (SOGIE) and who are bodily diverse, face a number of difficulties even in open and free societies, subjecting them to abuses and forcing them to conceal their identities for their own safety. Some countries explicitly criminalize same-sex behavior and/or gender expression that differs from the sex assigned at birth; few countries offer specific non-discrimination protections on the grounds of SOGIE. By virtue of their invisibility they experience disproportionate amounts of project risks and impacts, producing unsafe living conditions. These risks typically stem from ignorance, discrimination, prejudice, harassment, and/or violence – sometimes carried out with legal sanction or impunity. Invisibility has significant impacts, including diminished access to much needed services including:  health services, education, and employment opportunities. If left unchecked prejudice and/or harassment can lead to significant cumulative long-term effects, including direct or indirect violent actions, extreme poverty and permanent social exclusion.

Along the same lines, a combination of gender discrimination and legal barriers against women and girls contribute to their exclusion and to gender based violence. Gender-based disparities remain in many countries, including in wages, property ownership, labor force participation, and literacy, enrollment in higher education, political participation and representation, life expectancy, legal rights and sex ratios at birth. These pose significant project risks if not addressed fully at each stage of project development.

Many women, girls, and gender and sexual minorities also experience multiple forms of discrimination and marginalization, including because of their ethnic background, religion, language, political opinion, or other status.

The next draft of the safeguard framework must therefore - systematically and proactively - address the unique impacts of each project on women, girls, and gender and sexual minorities, as well as additional impacts these people experience because of other forms of discrimination or marginalization that they face. This can only be achieved by including standalone Gender and SOGIE Safeguard with mandatory standards on:

Social Impact Assessments which are gender and SOGIE responsive. These must identify and assess impacts of proposed projects in terms of lack and barriers to access to needed services, evaluate alternatives, and design appropriate mitigation and monitoring measures;

Baseline Gender and SOGIE disaggregated indicators to assist in determining whether a project has differing impacts on persons based on their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression or bodily diversity and those who may be vulnerable to abuses and exclusion due to prejudices related to more than one of these factors;

Meaningful Engagement, Consultations and Participation with women, girls, and persons with a non-conforming sexual orientation, gender identity and/or varying gender expression and who are bodily diverse at each stage of the project are needed. Specific measures must be taken to ensure active participation and  confidentiality and security of participants;

Gender and SOGIE Plan & Planning framework to ensure that these groups receive equal benefits, are protected from adverse effects of a project and are compensated in a satisfactory manner, sufficient planning and dedicated budget are required;

Universal Accessibility and Inclusion Plan to ensure access to safe services from criminalization, discrimination and violence. This will include having sensitive and trained staff in place to provide quality and comprehensive healthcare, a safe environment with healthcare facilities, access to quality education and a means to maintaining adequate standard of living as well as emotional and over all well-being.


Endorsing Organizations


1.                   Human Rights House, Albania

2.                   PINK Embassy, Albania

3.                   Access Chapter 2, South Africa

4.                   SANAC Civil Society Forum, South Africa

5.                   Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health, Lebanon

6.                   India HIV/AIDS Alliance, India

7.                   METRO Charity, United Kingdom

8.                   The Bretton Woods Project, United Kingdom

9.                   IDAHO Committee - International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

10.               Arab Trans Association

11.               The Global Alliance for LGBT Education, Netherlands

12.               Stonewall Housing, United Kingdom

13.               The Initiative for Equal Rights, Nigeria

14.               Micro Rainbow, United Kingdom

15.               Kaleidoscope Trust, United Kingdom

16.               Initiative for Improved Male Health, Nigeria

17.               Bank Information Center, United States

18.               Gender and Development Network, United Kingdom

19.               National Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Kenya

20.               Center Global, United States

21.               Chapter Four-Uganda, Uganda

22.               Blue Diamond Society, Nepal

23.               ILGA-Europe, Belgium

24.               International Rectal Microbicide Advocates – IRMA, Nigeria

25.               International Centre for Advocacy on Rights to Health, Nigeria

26.               The LGBT Center of Raleigh, United States

27.               LGBT United Tetovo, Macedonia

28.               ILGA – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, Switzerland

29.               ReconcilingWorks, United States

30.               Stonewall, United Kingdom

31.               Closet de Sor Juana AC, México

32.               Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, China

33.               Labris - Lesbian Human Rights Organization, Serbia

34.               Queer Zagreb, Croatia

35.               Domino and ZbeLeTron, Croatia

36.               Sarajevo Open Centre, Bosnia & Herzegovina

37.               Queeria - Center for Promoting Culture of Nonviolence and Equality, Serbia

38.               Belgrade Pride Parade, Serbia

39.               Kaos GL Association, Turkey

40.               LGBT Forum Progress, Montenegro

41.               LGBTIQ Social Center, Montenegro

42.               LGBTI Support Center - Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia

43.               Thessaloniki Pride, Greece

44.               Alliance against Discrimination of LGBT people, Albania

45.               Public Information and Need of Knowledge NGO, Armenia

46.               Aswat- Palestinian Gay Women

47.               Subversive Front, Skopje, Macedonia

48.               Israeli Queers for Palestine, Israel

49.               Athens Pride, Greece

50.               SPoD LGBTI, Turkey

51.               CEL, Kosovo

52.               QeSH, Kosovo

53.               Open Mind Spectrum Albania - OMSA

54.               Community Development Center & Network "Today for the Future", Albania

55.               Tirana Legal Aid Society, TLAS, Albania

56.               Albanian Center for Population and Development, Albania

57.               Beyond Barriers, Albania

58.               Youth in Free Initiative, Kukes, Albania

59.               Albanian Institute for Public Affairs, Albania

60.               "Harriet Martineau" Foundation, Albania

61.               Focus on Women’s Development, Kuçovë, Albania

62.               Intellectual Women of Shkodra, Albania

63.               Observatory for Children's Rights, Albania

64.               Children’s Human Rights Centre of Albania

65.               Change Centre Albania                                                                                                                 

66.               Supporting women in the family, Albania

67.               Association for Integration of Informal Areas, Albania

68.               Roma Virtual Network, Israel

69.               Gayten-LGBT, Serbia

70.               Instituto Runa de desarrollo y Estudios sobre Género, Spain

71.               Gender Action, United States

72.               LGBTT Solidarity Association, Turkey

73.               TRANSform, Romania

74.               Deutsche Gesellschaft für Transidentität und Intersexualität, Germany

75.               Bisexual Alliance Victoria, Australia

76.               Transgender Victoria, Australia

77.               Instituto Runa de Desarrollo y Estudios sobre Género, Peru

78.               Human Rights Watch, United States

79.               Pehchan North Region Office, India

80.               Kinnar Bharti, India

81.               Parivartan Trust, India

82.               Mitr TI +, India

83.               Kashish, India

84.               Ekta Trust, India

85.               Samarpan, India

86.               Shaan, India

87.               Himayat, India

88.               Mansa, India

89.               Navjeewan, India

90.               Welcome Foundation, India

91.               Sangharsh, India

92.               Dostana, India

93.               Sneh, India

94.               Saahil- E-Sasaram, India

95.               Asha Trust, India

96.               Ibteda-e-anees, India

97.               Humkhayal Trust, India

98.               Ujala Trust, India

99.               Sankalp, India

100.            Naya Savera, India

101.            Basera Trust, India

102.            Rhythm, India

103.            Ekta sewa  sansthan, India

104.            Bharosa TI+, India

105.            Rose Foundation, India

106.            Gulshan- E –Ishq, India

107.            Jagriti Foundation, India

108.           Saathi Seva Santhan, India

109.           TLF Sexuality, Health and Rights Educators, Philippines

110.           Groundation, Grenada

111.           Quality of Citizenship, Jamaica

112.           Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), Guyana

113.           Human Rights Campaign, United States

114.           Colour Youth – LGBTQ Youth Community of Athens, Greece

115.           TransAkcija, Slovenia



Endorsing Individuals


116.            Olumide Makanjuola

117.            Adebisi Alimi

118.            Tamara Adrian

119.            Miroslawa Makuchowska

120.            Dr. Greg Ussher

121.            Wim Antonio Monasso

122.            David Masengesho

123.            Kelechi Ugoh

124.            Rev. Canon Albert Joy Ogle

125.            Denis LeBlanc

126.            Oleg Tomilin

127.            Philip W. Moeller

128.            Tushar M.

129.            John Adeniyi

130.            Stein Wolff Frydenlund

131.            Filippos Paganis

132.            Belissa Andia Perez

133.            Janneke van der Ros

134.            Monika Kocaqi

135.            Lavdie Ruçi