The implementation phase of the current public-private partnership between the ECLT Foundation and the ILO, which started in December 2015, has made marked progress toward developing a global guidance on hazardous child labour and occupational safety and health in tobacco growing.
Efforts at global and national levels
Throughout 2016, efforts have been advanced under the ILO-ECLT PPP at two levels. First at the global level in laying the foundation for the establishment of a tripartite Research Advisory Committee (RAC), to advise on the research process and guide the development of a research agenda to generate evidence-based practical guidance on Hazardous Child Labour (HCL) in tobacco-growing. The RAC will include the tri- partite participation of governments, workers, and employers, as well as of other key project stakeholders. Second, at the national level, the project is supporting tri-partite social dialogue(s) in 3 countries: Uganda, Malawi, and Tanzania. These efforts will facilitate research efforts of the RAC, ensure that the project aligns with the national child labour priorities, and can provide a blueprint for other tobacco-growing countries on raising awareness and dissemination for the guidance.
The ILO-ECLT agreements
The ILO-ECLT agreements to support a Public Private Partnership, develop practical guidance, and advance social dialogue, are thought to be effective to address hazardous child labour in tobacco farming in two ways: The first is developing the knowledge base on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and related hazards. The second is promoting social dialogue between relevant stakeholders at the national, district and local levels.
Working agains hazardous child labour in tobacco growing wherever it happens
Tobacco is grown in at least 120 countries worldwide, employing approximately 40 million workers in tobacco growing and leaf processing alone. While global estimates on the number of children employed in the tobacco farming sector are lacking, several country studies indicate that a significant number of children from 7-18 years participate in a wide variety of tasks on tobacco farms, which may differ based on the local farming and labour context, as well as national child labour legislation.
26 multi-year area-based projects
The ECLT Foundation, since 2002, has advanced the elimination and reduction of child labour in tobacco growing through 26 multi-year area-based projects, and more recently through programmes supporting private and public efforts, and disseminating knowledge and evidence. ECLT’s key programmatic aims visibly converge under this effort which is a historic landmark for the Foundation.
This ILO-ECLT project provides a critical forum for multi-stakeholder discussions on hazardous child labour in tobacco-growing and in agriculture. The sustainable eradication of child labour in tobacco growing also requires the commitment and action of the sectoral economic actors. These include enterprises at all levels and employers’, workers’ and small producers’ organisations, including cooperatives.
Developing and implementing practical guidance and advice on OSH and HCL
The project’s development objective - over the agreed period of 30 months - is to reduce hazardous child labour in tobacco growing by developing and implementing practical guidance and advice on OSH and HCL, strengthening social dialogue between relevant stakeholders, and developing their capacity to implement child labour policies. The initial project plans and instrumentation have been agreed and actions have now been initiated.
The global guidance on hazardous child labour in tobacco growing, and the results of efforts supporting social dialogue on combating child labour in agriculture in the three target countries will feed into the IV Global Child Labour Conference, to be held in Argentina in 2017.