6 pledge makers guiding us toward a world free from child labour

Technical assistance, multi-stakeholder coordination, and global leadership are the key elements of these 2021 Action Pledges

We’re highlighting some of the 2021 Action Pledges we’ve received. Get inspired by these short stories about how governments, UN agencies, NGOs, universities, organizations, tripartite partners, and many more are joining the global movement for children.

How can we avoid the predicted rise in child labour?

The COVID-19 crisis threatens to further erode global progress unless urgent measures are taken. According to the 2021 Global Estimates on Child Labour, without mitigation measures, a further 8.9 million children will likely be in child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of rising poverty driven by the pandemic.

But, the actual impact will depend on policy responses. A rise in social protection coverage could offset the impact of COVID-19 on child labour, returning us to progress. 

Consider the broader policy imperatives for ending child labour, such as the enforcement of laws and regulations designed to protect children.

Here’s what some of our pledge makers are doing:

International Labour Organization (ILO)

The International Labour Organization is a United Nations organization based in Geneva. The ILO, together with UNICEF, is the custodian of SDG 8.7, which calls on all stakeholders to end child labour.

Their 2021 Action Pledge aims to lead, support, and coordinate multi-stakeholder collective action against child labour in 2021. The organization looks forward to fostering a community of stakeholders that can learn from and support one another, as well as identifying successful projects, programmes, and initiatives that can be scaled up in the years to come.

“The ILO pledges to share knowledge and good practices on child labour as widely as possible; to foster, find and share innovative digital and financial solutions to ending child labour; to continue to support constituents in their fight against child labour at the national level; and to facilitate the process and encourage countries that have pledged to make progress towards the ratification of the Minimum Age Convention No. 138 this year.”

Throughout the year, the ILO will play a coordination role to match pledge makers that could support one another’s efforts on the ground and draw from its knowledge mobilization tool to maximize the dissemination of the latest Global Estimates on Child Labour.

“The ILO is doing a lot to address child labour this year, with the launch of the new Global Estimates on World Day Against Child Labour together with UNICEF, the SDG 8.7 Innovation Challenge and our ongoing support to constituents through development cooperation projects, to name but a few.”
– Guy Ryder, ILO Director General

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UNICEF is a United Nations organization based in New York. UNICEF, together with the ILO, is the custodian of SDG 8.7.

Their 2021 Action Pledge aims to continue to make child labour visible and to advocate for and support the necessary action by all stakeholders to eliminate child labour, including by sharing knowledge and good practices at the country level and globally.

“UNICEF works with a range of partners at all levels to eliminate child labour, including governments, businesses, civil society organizations, communities and children themselves. This includes addressing the impact and leveraging the influence of the private sector. In 2020, UNICEF supported action to eliminate child labour in 57 countries.”

Throughout the year, UNICEF will make an impact by supporting practical action in the field; by enhancing understanding and the visibility of child labour and its root causes; by developing new approaches to addressing child rights with the private sector; by monitoring progress towards SDG 8.7; and by engaging stakeholders through calls to action and promoting priority actions.

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United States 

The United States Department of Labor is a government institution.

Their 2021 Action Pledge aims to contribute to the reduction of international and national child labour through technical assistance, research, trade policy, and enforcement. The United States will provide $57 million and harness resources from a range of government departments in the push to eliminate child labour.

“Our Action Pledge will contribute to ending child labour internationally by involving workers, civil society, donors, and business and supporting them to address child labour both in their own spheres of influence and collaboratively; … by combating child trafficking through protection, prosecution, prevention, and partnerships; and through negotiation, monitoring, and enforcement of a worker-centric trade policy.”

Throughout the year, the United States will prevent child labour through protection, prosecution, prevention, and partnerships, as well as through a dedicted focus on children in adversity. It will involve the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, USAID, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

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Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is a government institution.

Their 2021 Action Pledge aims to support and inspire efforts to eliminate child labour in Asia through legislation, financial contributions to the ILO, and awareness raising initiatives.

“To ensure the prevention of child labour in Japan, we secure the enforcement of the Labour Standards Law and other relevant laws. In addition, while cooperating with relevant administrative agencies and NPOs, we make efforts to provide employment and livelihood support for children, youth and their families who have financial difficulties.”

Throughout the year, the government will raise awareness on different ILO Declarations, the ILO MNE Declaration and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises which all call for the abolition of child labour.

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In April 2021, France expressed its wish to become an Alliance 8.7 Pathfinder Country to the ILO Director General, through a letter signed jointly by a range of government ministries.

Their 2021 Action Pledge aims to strengthen the country’s commitment to eliminating child labour by holding a meeting of all French stakeholders, public authorities, social partners, business networks and associations to draw up an ambitious national action plan as soon as possible.

“The works carried out in the context of the application for Alliance 8.7 Pathfinder Country status are intended to improve the synergy and impact of the action that France is carrying out against child labour, in its territory and around the world, based on its legislative framework.”

Throughout the year, France will hold discussions among five dedicated working groups to allow for the mapping of the existing framework and all the actions carried out by France to achieve target 8.7 of the sustainable development goals, in particular the elimination of child labour. 

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In 2021, Germany will officially apply to become an Alliance 8.7 Pathfinder Country and will hold an expert-level national workshop.

Their 2021 Action Pledge aims to take on the global responsibility to work harder and to be more effective in the fight against child labour and forced labour. The country plans to enforce legislation on human rights due diligence in supply chains and provide support to companies in effectively implementing the requirements.

“The aim of the national legislation on human rights due diligence in supply chains is to require companies based in the Federal Republic of Germany, and branches not based in Germany, to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence if they are above a certain size in order to live up to their responsibilities in their supply chains.”

The legislation on human rights due diligence in supply chains has been recently adopted.

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