The 5th Global Conference convened with only three years left to achieve the goal of the elimination of all child labour by 2025, and only eight years towards the goal of the elimination of forced labour by 2030, as established by SDG Target 8.7. Additionally, it came at a time when the world was still recovering and responding to the multiple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a devastating effect on health, economic progress, equality and social development.

In this context, the 5th Global Conference represented an opportunity to assess progress made towards achieving the goals of Target 8.7, discuss good practices implemented by the different actors around the world and to identify gaps and urgent measures needed to accelerate the elimination of both child labour and forced labour.

Key topics
Today’s actions, tomorrow’s progress

The elimination of child labour as a condition to positive labour market performance with a human-centered approach (education, skills development, life-long learning and school-to-decent work transition, depending on the age group);

The high prevalence of child labour in agriculture, which is closely linked to poverty, informality and family survival strategies;

The formalization of the informal economy and the creation of decent work;

The need for additional resources and targeted policies addressing the root causes of child labour and forced labour and the provision of adequate funding;

The challenge of COVID-19 eventually reverting years of progress in the fight against child labour, forced labour and child trafficking;

The rich experience the regions are bringing to the Conference, with the opportunity to highlight the specific contributions of the African region;

The value added of pledges and action-oriented, time-bound commitments of the international community towards the achievement of SDG target 8.7.

Side events, one for everyone

The Global Conference included 28 side events, one-hour sessions that allowed Delegates to further share knowledge and experiences related to the main topics addressed in the event. Side events were organized in person in Durban, in hybrid format or online only.

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Durban, big city life

Durban is one of the largest cities in South Africa. It is ethnically diverse, with a cultural richness of mixed cuisines, religions, and traditions – the perfect place to host a globally-oriented conference.

It also has a proven track record of hosting events on the international stage, such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

And it is environmentally-conscious. Surrounded by the Indian Ocean and rolling green valleys, Durban was named the greenest city in the world by Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index.

The ICC, Africa’s best convention centre

The International Convention Centre is a world-class facility in the heart of Durban, just half an hour from the airport, and a few minutes from hotels and beaches. It has been voted Africa’s Best Convention Centre 17 times in the past 18 years.

Committed to a better future, starting with children, the Durban ICC’s focus is aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It has hosted projects and supported local partners such as the Early Childhood Development Centre, the Reach for a Dream Foundation, and the Santa Shoebox Project.

In addition, the Durban ICC holds certifications in quality standards programmes focused on service delivery, environmental management, and food safety.

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Alternatively, the Department of Employment and Labour of the Republic of South Africa is available at +27 (012) 309 4000.