Post submitted by Saurav Jung Thapa, Associate Director of Research, HRC Global, and Jeremy Kadden, Senior International Policy Advocate
On Tuesday, HRC attended a panel discussion at the World Bank to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). The panel discussion was titled ‘LGBTI Inclusion, Poverty Reduction and Shared Prosperity.’
Dr. Kaushik Basu, the World Bank’s chief economist and senior vice president, said that the Bank is committed to “celebrating inclusion and standing up to bigotry.” He reiterated the need to combat the violence that blights the lives of LGBTQ people, especially for LBT women who face elevated risks of violence. While a recent Bank study has shown that homophobia imposes steep economic costs for a country’s gross domestic product (GDP),Basu said that promoting equality and removing discrimination are “good in themselves, and the just thing to do” regardless of whether or not it brings economic benefits.
The event moderator, Clifton Cortez, team leader for gender and LGBTI issues at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved unless LGBTQ people are fully included in the development agenda. Two key SDGs relevant to LGBTQ people are reducing inequality and achieving gender equality. UNDP recently initiated a global LGBTQ data collection effort in which HRC, the World Bank and others are involved.
Other panelists included senior government officials from Vietnam and Serbia and an LGBTQ activist from Bolivia.
In recent years, the World Bank has taken a number of steps to ensure that their development programs are inclusive of LGBTQ people. Last month, the Bank announced it would hire a senior staff person to focus exclusively on the development needs of LGBTI people. And on IDAHOT, the Bank published a blog post arguing that anti-poverty work goes hand-in-hand with ending anti-LGBTQ bigotry. There is a great deal more that can be done, though, particularly focused on conducting research on the particular economic needs of LGBTQ people. HRC has been pushing the Bank to fund that kind of research, which the Bank is uniquely positioned to conduct, and to ensure that the data is used to inform Bank projects in the future.
To mark IDAHOT this year, HRC released the third edition of Equality Rising, which highlighted the remarkable global progress in 2015 along with ferocious violence and backlash against LGBTQ people in some places. HRC also launched a video series highlighting innovative global LGBTQ advocates fighting for equality and joined the U.N. Free & Equal campaign and Logo TV to highlight the resilience of advocates across the world who work tirelessly for the rights of LGBTQ people.