Sign Up for the NEWS newsletter

You have been successfully added to our newsletter.

You will be up to date with all our NBC News updates, including special offers

Let our news meet your inbox

World Bank Appoints First Adviser to Tackle LGBTI Discrimination

The adviser will be tasked with solidifying the bank’s commitment to researching and curbing discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community.

by Thomson Reuters Foundation. /
Clifton CortezUnited Nations Development Programme

NEW YORK - The World Bank has appointed its first adviser tasked with promoting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues in its development work.

 Clifton Cortez United Nations Development Programme

The newly created senior position is part of the bank's efforts to solidify its commitment to researching and curbing discrimination against LGBTI persons across the 136 countries where it has offices, it said on Thursday.

The initiative by the poverty-fighting institution comes at a time when discrimination against LGBTI people is facing increased scrutiny globally.

The bank, which makes loans in developing countries and conducts research, named Clifton Cortez to fill the position. With two decades of experience in development, Cortez most recently managed partnerships for the United Nations program on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS.

RELATED: Obama's Quiet Mission to Export Gay Rights Overseas

In recent years, the bank's research has increasingly turned to the economic impact of discrimination on LGBTI persons, the bank said.

This year, the Washington-D.C.-based organization has been collecting data on the socioeconomic status of LGBTI persons worldwide and launched several research projects on LGBTI discrimination.

"Discrimination against any group is not only morally wrong, it stands in the way of sustained, balanced, and inclusive economic growth," Jim Yong Kim, the bank's president, said in a statement. "We need to strengthen our case for economic inclusion [of LGBTI persons]."

 World Bank President Jim Yong Kim speaks during a panel discussion on financial inclusion at the 2016 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund Headquarters and the World Bank Group on October 7, 2016, in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / AFP - Getty Images

The World Bank's announcement comes a day after the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) publicized a new rule barring its foreign aid contractors from discriminating against LGBTI persons in the services it funds.

Last month, the United Nations appointed its first independent investigator to help protect the community worldwide from violence and discrimination.

A U.N. report last year said hundreds of LGBTI people have been killed and thousands injured in recent years, in violence that included knife attacks, anal rape and genital mutilation.

OutRight Action International, a New York City-based group that advocates for LGBTI rights globally, said the new World Bank position was encouraging.

"Protecting LGBTI people against discrimination has very real positive impacts on economic development," said Jessica Stern, the group's executive director.

Follow NBC OUT on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.