The world is racing to end all forms of child labour by 2025, to meet SDG target 8.7 and guarantee that children everywhere can fully enjoy their human right to be child labour free. Resources and commitments are needed more than ever because the clock is ticking and 152 million children around the world are counting on us to support them out of harmful work and open doors to a brighter future.
Commitments are coming from every level, as we have seen at the recent launch to declare 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. As members of the Alliance 8.7, we celebrate this event to jumpstart increased investment, collaboration and implementation. The ECLT Foundation reaffirms our deep commitment to provide strategic investment, technical assistance and multi-stakeholder engagement to bring about sustainable collaboration connecting international standards and best practices to sustainable change for children and families in farming communities around the globe.
In their own words
Some highlights from event include:
"Much has been done, but this is not enough" has warned Amar Lal, child labour survivor, activist and human rights lawyer, acknowledged progress toward the elimination of child labour by 2025 and called for continued efforts. "We need a commitment to implementation."
ECLT welcomed Amar’s voice as crucial to the international dialogue. We urge the Alliance 8.7 to go further to ensure meaningful participation from children under 18 in the discussion and fight against child labour, as is their human right guaranteed in the UN’s most widely ratified treaty, the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Top level commitments from the ILO and other UN agencies helped to shape the dialogue.
"It's about the action that we generate together" ILO Director General Guy Ryder, confirmed in his call for joint action across sectors and regions. Sharan Burrow of ITUC called for urgent action as 2021 "is the year to ensure that children can have a childhood."
"Policies, programmes, and investments related to agri-food systems need to address the root causes of child labour, including household poverty," Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu noted, as the global COVID-19 pandemic also places more pressure on poor and vulnerable families. He highlighted that "we need a breakthrough in agriculture where child labour is frequently found."
For Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director at United Nations Global Compact “There is a wide gap between business aspirations and business actions” that must be closed. She noted that it is time to step up due diligence for the elimination of child labour across supply chains.
Governments and regional organisations including the European Commission, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Tunisia and the United States of America presented concrete action pledges.
Minister of Labour, Claudio Moroni of Argentina expressed the need to better understand the conditions that have lead to the current urgent crisis of child labour, looking at a systems approach and economic development. Committing broadly on behalf of the country, he said "We make this pledge on behalf of all levels of Government and we are committed to supporting rural communities to end #childlabour.”
Now is the time to act together
As we cannot fully tackle child labour without addressing root causes like poverty, lack of access to quality education and gender inequality, as well as drivers like migration, conflict, disasters, and pandemics, now is the time to act together. As a member of Alliance 8.7, the ECLT Foundation applauds the many pledges made at the launch event to kick-off action this year. We are committed to support collaborative work and look to engage with all relevant Alliance members to move forward swiftly and sustainably.