On Monday, 16 May 2022, the second day of the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour continued at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban, South Africa where various representatives provided empowering insights to #EndChildLabour.
Various panel discussion groups occurred throughout the day with a wide variety of spokespeople. There is an urgency as we have 3 years left and time is ticking. A commitment plan will be put together during the course of this week to achieve the goal of eliminating child labour.
Guy Ryder, ILO Director General, opened the first discussions of the day by highlighting the key priorities of the conference and noting the importance of sustaining global progress on the elimination of child labour.
Thulas Nxesi, Minister of Employment and Labour of South Africa, echoed those sentiments on behalf of his country. He said that South Africa fully subscribes to the ILO’s human-centered approach to the future of work. “It is about social justice, creating a prosperous future and hope for children,” he said. “That is our mission. Hosting this conference gives us the opportunity to show our commitment.”
An important announcement came from Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships: the EU will invest 10 million euros to target child labour in value chains. Currently, the EU is working with the ILO and other international organizations to share knowledge and data and implement relevant projects. “We are taking different actions to ensure that children’s rights are protected,” she said. “Child labour is a complex problem with many root causes. However, there are solutions and we are very committed to finding them.”
Switching sectors, James Quincey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Coca-Cola company, provided the perspective of the role of the private sector in ending child labour. “Child labour is most prevalent in supply chain. We are focusing on building local capacity to really address the child rights and risks," he said.
Finally, speaking on behalf of partnerships and cooperation, Anousheh Karvar, Chair of Alliance 8.7, called for solidarity on our “shared responsibility” to end child labour. “We know that governments by themselves cannot make it,” she said. “We need to involve social partners, trade unions, and CSOs – exactly what we do in Alliance 8.7, a global multi-stakeholder partnership.”
She called for a focus on three points of action: Identifying child labour as a top government priority, building national action plans with robust indicators to show progress and lastly fostering solidarity for economic and social development.
Prominent representatives spoke in the second half of the day. They focused on practical strategies, innovative solutions and knowledge sharing. All representative touched on working together and stressed the need to do better.
Child labour is an international conversation that needs to be domesticated and simplified. It must be taken to the community level for the severity of it to be understood among all. The call for commitment on the international level was key in all conversations. Governments need to guarantee fundamental rights, health and safety, adequate living wages, and of course some control over working hours.
Tara Banjara, a child labour survivor spoke on her experience. “I come from a community where child labour has been dominant. I used to work on dangerous roads in my country. I never thought I could get an education. Not until a school opened in my village. Today, I am requesting everyone to stand up with me and take a pledge to ensure that every child is free.” In support of Tara, the audience stood up and pledged with her on the elimination of child labour.