Part II. The global response to child labour: Turning indignation into action

  1. Better information means stronger action
  2. The world’s indignation about the many injustices faced by its children Turning indignation into is now being translated into action, on an ever-larger scale, to rid communi- action ties, sectors and countries of child labour. Long-term policies can create an environment in which recourse to child labour simply makes no sense for em­ployers, for families or for children. Short-term, targeted initiatives to with­draw children from labour and to provide them with viable alternatives are needed if today’s child labourers are to benefit. The ILO and its partners are now able to draw upon a growing body of experience in policies and pro­grammes that work and can be adapted and applied to different situations.
  3. Research on child labour provides the indispensable bridge between the Research and action go child labour problem described in Part I of this Report, and the effective ac- hand in hand tion to combat it, which is examined in Part II. Building understanding of child labour and taking action to abolish it must go hand in hand. Convincing data can be used both to reinforce advocacy against child labour and to pro­mote the political will to correct it. Thorough, accurate baseline analysis of the child labour situation leads to the design of effective policies and pro­grammes, thus saving time and money and enhancing sustainability. Rigorous monitoring and evaluation enable projects to stay on track with their objec­tives and draw attention to the lessons to be learned.
  4. Child labour is a complex socio-economic phenomenon and hence presents many research challenges. For many years, the lack of good informa­tion and statistical data on child labour stood in the way of finding effective ways to tackle the problem. While many promising new approaches to child labour research have emerged in recent years, with the spotlight now on its worst forms, even more innovative methods are urgently needed.

The ILO and child labour research

  1. Research innovations contributed by the ILO over the past two decades include advances in measuring household and women’s work, informal sector studies and the use of ethnographic techniques and time-use studies, all of which have served to improve the quality of information relevant to child labour.[1] Throughout the 1990s, the ILO worked to improve methods for gath­ering quantitative data on child labour; the latest results have been presented in Part I, Chapter 2. IPEC’s Statistical Information and Monitoring Pro­gramme on Child Labour (SIMPOC) now provides technical and financial sup­port to countries to carry out child labour surveys, set up national data banks and disseminate information. The data, which are disaggregated by sex, serve as essential tools in identifying the incidence, scope and causes of child la­bour, providing information for awareness raising and monitoring trends and evaluating the impact of interventions.
  1. By the end of 2001, 52 countries had requested SIMPOC assistance, 11 surveys had been completed and 26 more were under way. SIMPOC has also developed a set of indicators on child labour to assist in programme develop­ment, impact monitoring and country comparisons. These indicators help to track the magnitude, distribution and consequences of child labour.
  2. In response to demand for policy research and analysis, IPEC has re­cently investigated the economics of child labour and its elimination, the im­pact of financial crises on child labour, the effectiveness of social-labelling programmes, and the links between HIV/AIDS and child labour in southern Africa.
  3. By working together, agencies can capitalize on each other’s strengths. For example, the ILO and UNICEF have jointly developed a Rapid Assess­ment (RA) methodology, which combines a wide range of data-gathering tech­niques, as a timely and cost-effective research approach. This is being used to provide information on hard-to-reach groups of children such as those in prostitution, trafficked children, domestic workers and children in other worst forms. By the end of 2001, 38 RAs had been completed in 23 countries, fo­cusing on different worst forms of child labour. In addition to generating in­formation for programme design, important methodological lessons emerging from the RAs include the value of studying situations where child labour is not used as well as those where it is, and of talking to children who do not work as well as to those who do; the need for additional surveys to produce baseline data against which progress can be measured; and the need to focus on chil­dren and not solely on a particular sector where there are worst forms of child labour, because children may simply move from one sector to another.
  4. The ILO and the World Health Organization (WHO) are also collaborat­ing with a child labour task force working in the WHO Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health to support the development of an operational defini­tion of hazardous child labour.

Research challenges and innovations

  1. Despite increased knowledge of child labour, important gaps in under­standing it remain. For example, more needs to be known about the interplay between micro-level decision-making by families (e.g. choosing between work and school) and macro-level decision-making by enterprises and govern­ments. There are certain groups of children about whom relatively little is known, including child domestic workers, children affected by armed conflict (not only child combatants), children in prostitution and children involved in illicit activities such as drug trafficking.
  2. A topic requiring further investigation is occupational safety and health in relation to children. Hard evidence about the short- and long-term effects on children of different working conditions and environments is relatively scarce, although there are some exceptions. While it is helpful to begin with lists of occupations and working conditions that place children at risk, this does not necessarily resolve some pressing questions, such as “How does one decide whether one kind of work is more detrimental to children than another? How much physical risk equates with how much psychosocial jeopardy? How would short- and long-term effects be compared?” [2]
  3. The Hazard Rating Matrix (HRM) is one simple tool, developed in the Philippines (see box 1.1) that can be used to help assess the hazards involved in work which might, at first sight, not appear harmful to children, such as vegetable cultivation on a family plot.[3]
  4. There is a clear research role in this area for the ILO and WHO, in col­laboration with the public health community as a whole. The health assess­ment carried out by the WHO Regional Office for the Americas/Pan American Health Organization, in collaboration with IPEC, on children working in fish­ing, on sugar-cane plantations and in garbage dumps in El Salvador repre­sents the beginning of a new model for this kind of research. The ILOs’ InFocus Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment has a solid foundation on which to build more in-depth knowledge of the hazards that children face at work.
  5. Better information on schooling is also needed. Sex-, age- and location- disaggregated data on drop-out and repetition rates, absenteeism and failure to transfer from primary to secondary education, when linked to data on number of hours, type and intensity of children’s work outside school, would help build an understanding of the linkages between child labour and school performance.
  6. One important recent advance for child labour research is the wide­spread acceptance that children are important partners in generating valid in­formation about their lives. This means that, although adults’ perceptions are not devalued, the adults themselves are no longer considered to be the sole authorities on children’s lives. As children cannot always verbally express themselves well, researchers have to find alternative methods to elicit infor­mation, for example, through role plays, drawings and group discussions.[4] Such methods are being incorporated into IPEC’s Rapid Assessments. Box 1.2 shows the outcomes of consultations with children held during the plan­ning of the Time-Bound Programme in the United Republic of Tanzania.
  7. A holistic approach to research about children takes into account all di­mensions of their lives – work, school, home, service provision, community life, relationships with adults or other children – and how these elements in­teract. A wide range of disciplines can contribute, including demography, economics and statistics, epidemiology, geography, law, nutrition, psychol­ogy, public health and social anthropology. Ideally, research should study children over time, so as to shed light on the changing nature of their work, school and home lives, which cannot be captured in a snap-shot of what chil­dren are doing at a single point in time.

Box 1.1

The Hazard Rating Matrix

Degree of safety Work intensity
Light Moderate Heavy
Safe Totally allowed for young workers Conditionally allowed for young workers Very hazardous; should be banned
Moderately safe Conditionally allowed for young workers Very hazardous; should be banned Very hazardous; should be banned
Unsafe Very hazardous; should be banned Very hazardous; should be banned Very hazardous; should be banned

The Hazard Rating Matrix covers (1) the degree of safety of working conditions and (2) the intensity of work. It shows, for example, that work in safe conditions at moderate intensity, and in moderately safe conditions at light intensity, can be conditionally allowed for young workers. Using a specialized checklist that covers factors such as work environment, materials and equipment used, labour inspectors can classify the degree of safety. Work inten­sity is measured by considering the frequency and duration of work, together with weight/resistance (relative to the total body weight of the young worker), body position and other movements involved in the task. The number of tasks undertaken over a period of time would be cumulative. Taking decisions without adult supervision, and tasks involving bending, reaching or stretching beyond a child’s normal range, would automatically lead to the work being classified as not acceptable for young workers.

Family-based vegetable farming might not be regarded as a worst form. However, under the Hazard Rating Matrix, although the working environment and tools might be favourable, contact with soil and water, both of which are sources of infection, using a heavy watering can and not wearing protective clothing would lead to a work inten­sity classification of heavy, despite a safe or moderately safe degree of safety. The work is thus identified as “Very hazardous; should be banned”, i.e. as a worst form of child labour.

Monitoring child labour

  1. The term “monitoring” is used in a variety of ways with respect to child labour: monitoring a country’s compliance with labour standards (addressed by ILO supervisory mechanisms and thus not covered here), monitoring spe­cific projects to ensure they have the desired impact (programme monitoring and evaluation or PME) and monitoring child labour in a locality or occupa­tional sector to verify that children are being removed from hazardous or in­appropriate work and to track what happens to them afterwards (child labour monitoring or CLM). Systems for PME have been strengthened considerably in recent years. Sound monitoring and evaluation mean that project perform­ance can be continually improved by incorporating the lessons learned, both positive and negative.

Child labour monitoring:            214. CLM is a major, relatively new, area of work, which is attracting consid-

A crucial tool in effective erable interest among international donors, consumers and ILO constituents abolition alike. CLM enables an overall, rather than a project-specific, assessment to be made of the extent to which action against child labour is having a positive impact. There are three main subcategories of CLM:

■ Workplace monitoring to determine whether children are present, whether their work is hazardous or not (and what minimum ages should be respected), their conditions of work and possible improvements in their situation (e.g. removal of children from the workplace, removal of hazards, reduction in working hours, provision of protective equipment or removal of other bad practices). Such monitoring is most often done by labour inspectors, employers through self-monitoring, trade unions, independent monitors or NGOs.

Box 1.2

Recommendations made by children consulted during the planning of the Time-Bound Programme

in the United Republic of Tanzania

Key stakeholder Recommendations of children on what each stakeholder should do
Children •   Be informed about the effects of city life, the worst forms of child labour and dropping out of school.

•   Participate in forums on child rights and child labour at the family and village levels.

•   Be involved in planning and designing programmes within their communities to eliminate child labour.

Parents • Know more about children’s rights and gender issues.
• Provide children with their basic needs such as love, education, health and protection.
• Not have more children and not get divorced.
Religious organizations • Continue to provide moral guidance and counselling.
Journalists • Address child labour and provide information on services to those affected.
• Write about child labour experiences, not just about beauty contests and sex.
NGOs •   Provide counselling to children withdrawn from child labour.

•   Promote child rights, alleviate household poverty, withdraw children from child labour and rehabilitate them.

Government • Ensure that all children have access to an education that is relevant.
• Punish those who exploit children’s labour.
IPEC (and the donor community in general) •   Work with the government to ensure that Convention No. 182 is implemented.

•   Where possible, assist with payment of school fees.

•   Assist in the campaign against HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections.

•   Increase the number of vocational training and counselling centres.

•   Draw up a policy to abolish the worst forms of child labour.

Source: IPEC: Project document: Supporting the Time-Bound Programme on the worst forms of child labour in the United Republic of Tan­zania (Geneva, ILO, 2001), p. 10, box 3.
  • Social protection monitoring to determine what support services former or current child labourers receive (such as formal or non-formal education, vocational training, health care, counselling or other rehabilitation services, and income generation assistance/microfinance services for their families) and the impact of this support. Social protection monitoring can be undertaken by the community, NGOs, children, parents and families, teachers or various local government welfare or other agencies.
  • Monitoring by communities to determine whether children working in the home, in traditional subsistence agriculture, fishing or other family- based occupations and in the informal economy receive decent treatment and are engaged in activities that are appropriate to their age and that do not interfere with their education and development.
  1. A new IPEC project aims to develop and test materials and build capa­city in government labour inspectorates and in employers’ and workers’ organ­izations to undertake and sustain comprehensive child labour monitoring or verification, covering not only the formal sector but the informal and rural sec­tors as well. These systems will have a twofold aim: to verify that children are withdrawn from child labour, especially from its worst forms, and to ensure that the situation of these children, once withdrawn, really is better than before.

Strengthening research capacity

  1. In order to meet these many pressing information needs, research capac­ity at all levels, from national government to communities, must be strength­ened. There should be an exchange of knowledge between national, regional and international agencies. Research results and methods must be properly documented and evaluated, and user-friendly training materials developed. The different agencies involved in collecting data about children need to be better coordinated, so that the information they gather can be compared, pooled and used to greatest effect.
  2. The best way of learning is often through practical experience. For ex­ample, labour inspectors in Indonesia, the Philippines, the United Repub­lic of Tanzania and Turkey have been trained through participation in field research. [5] The IPEC time-bound programmes include capacity building of national institutions in:
  • training in interview techniques for difficult topics;
  • interviewing children;
  • data processing and development of databases;
  • special techniques for researching illegal activities and hazardous work;
  • addressing gender issues in surveys and analyses;
  • strategies for integrating child labour surveys into routine national data collection;
  • harmonizing age groups in different data sets to improve comparability and ensuring the inclusion of young children in surveys;
  • monitoring and evaluation, and impact assessment techniques.
  1. Solid research, monitoring and evaluation, undertaken through partner­ships of different stakeholders, are essential if interventions to combat child labour are to be tailored to children’s, families’ and communities’ needs and circumstances. Thus, although research may sometimes appear to be an addi­tional cost to an already over-stretched budget, experience shows it to be a sound investment as it increases the effectiveness of interventions.
  2. International action to support national partners
  3. Child labour is part of a wider social reality at local, national and inter­national levels. Only through understanding and action at all these levels, in mutually reinforcing ways, can its effective abolition be achieved. This chap­ter examines some of the most important developments at the international level that are helping to build an environment in which child labour can be abolished in the national contexts in which it occurs.

The framework for action by the ILO

International labour standards and technical cooperation:

Complementary approaches

  1. The international labour standards of the ILO, reinforced by the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow­up, provide the Organization with the framework for action to combat child labour.
  2. Promoting child labour standards and supervising their application in Most countries have those countries that had ratified the relevant Conventions was, for many years, minimum age legislation the predominant ILO approach to the problem. Reflecting this work, the legis­lation of most countries now prohibits certain types of work for persons not having attained a minimum age. Country reports submitted under ILO super­visory procedures in the case of ratification of the relevant Conventions con­tain ample information in this regard.[6] Information with regard to countries that have not ratified the fundamental Conventions can be found in reports submitted annually under the follow-up to the Declaration.[7]
  1. With the advent of an approach to child labour in the late 1980s based on technical cooperation, some people were afraid that action for the applica­tion of minimum age standards might somehow be weakened and that ILO work in this area would become less effective.
  2. This has not been the case. There has been, over the course of the 1990s, a dramatically increasing readiness on the part of governments to acknowl­edge that a child labour problem exists and to undertake positive action to combat it, often with the support of IPEC. The feared spectre of negative re­actions from trading partners, consumers, trade unions and others has re­ceded in the light of the realization that, in reality, a willingness by individual countries to address child labour is perceived very positively by the global community at large. Far from slowing down, ratifications of Convention No. 138 (and now Convention No. 182) have accelerated. Experience with child labour therefore confirms that there is no inherent conflict between technical cooperation and normative action – the two approaches are complementary.
  3. International labour standards show the importance of the abolition of child labour in countries’ overall development strategies and offer guidance on the elements of a comprehensive policy to achieve this. The Minimum Age Recommendation, 1973 (No. 146), that accompanies Convention No. 138 en­visages development as an inclusive, gradual process requiring the “progres­sive extension of the inter-related measures necessary” such as “firm national commitment to full employment, … the progressive extension of other economic and social measures to alleviate poverty wherever it exists and to ensure family living standards and income which are such as to make it unnecessary to have recourse to the economic activity of children, … the development and progressive extension of adequate facilities for education and vocational orientation and training …” (Paragraphs 1 and 2). Building on this, the ILO takes an approach that is as comprehensive as possible in its tech-nical assistance strategy for the elimination of child labour.
  4. The campaign for universal ratification of Convention No. 182 has given the general fight against child labour a new urgency and scope, by focusing world attention on its worst forms. Its implementation will contribute to the abolition of all forms of child labour – the Declaration’s third category of prin­ciples and rights – and indeed to respect for all the fundamental principles.

The international Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (iPEC): A decade of experience

  1. IPEC was launched as a major ILO technical cooperation programme on child labour in 1992, building on an earlier interdepartmental project. Before this, systematic project work to eliminate child labour barely existed at the global level. Reform of national policies and legislation had been proceeding slowly and, despite enormous efforts on the part of many different actors, there was little coherence, much duplication and many valuable experiences were not shared.
  2. Since then, the situation has much improved and IPEC has expanded exponentially. In its early days, IPEC worked in six countries with financial support from a single donor government, Germany.8 By December 2001, it was operational in 75 countries, had 26 donors (countries and organizations) and managed a portfolio of active and planned projects in excess of US$200 million. Annual expenditure on technical cooperation projects reached over US$33 million in 2001. The number and range of IPEC’s partners have also expanded over the years, and now include government agencies, employers’ and workers’ organizations, private businesses, community-based organiza­tions, NGOs, the media, parliamentarians, the judiciary, religious groups and, of course, children and their families. Almost 150 NGOs across the world have been working with IPEC through action programmes. It is, by a long stretch, the biggest single operational programme of the ILO.
  1. IPEC’s approach to the elimination of child labour has evolved over the past ten years as a result of the experience it has gained and the changing needs of its partners for assistance. The programme now incorporates the dif­ferent categories of ILO work against child labour, including research and statistics, technical cooperation, advisory services and advocacy, as well as its own unit for monitoring and evaluation, therefore providing member States with comprehensive support to combat child labour.

From country programmes to time-bound programmes

  1. IPEC has supported governments and partner organizations to develop and implement innovative and experimental activities since its inception. Once a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the govern­ment and the ILO, a phased approach to action is followed, including deter­mining the nature and extent of child labour, devising national policies and protective legislation, setting up mechanisms to provide in-country owner­ship and operation of national programmes of action (under the guidance of a national steering committee involving ILO constituents and other agencies concerned), and creating awareness in communities and workplaces.
  2. This country programme approach has been instrumental in mobilizing broad support for the fight against child labour and enhancing capacity in na­tional institutions. But its effectiveness in making a large-scale impact on child labour has often been hampered by the small size and scope of the in­dividual action programmes scattered across the national territory and fre­quently subcontracted out to local implementing agencies, which themselves suffer from capacity constraints.
  3. Since 1997, IPEC projects have increased in scope, tending to cover larger geographical areas or whole economic sectors, through comprehensive programmes with correspondingly higher budgets. Work has progressed on development of new approaches to workplace monitoring and to social pro­tection, in its broadest sense, for child labourers and their families. These programmes have resulted in the direct withdrawal of many thousands of chil­dren from work, while endeavouring to keep workplaces free of child labour and ensuring that former child labourers and their families are provided with viable alternative livelihoods. [8] [9]
  4. Experience is also accumulating with comprehensive projects aimed at combating child labour on a national or regional scale. Such projects have multiple components, including child labour surveys and awareness raising alongside the three central pillars of the IPEC approach – prevention of child labour, the withdrawal of children from child labour and their rehabilitation. Several major cross-border regional projects have recently been launched to address trafficking in children (the Greater Mekong subregion), child domes­tic workers (Central America), small-scale mining (Latin America), commer­cial sexual exploitation (Latin America), commercial agriculture (East Africa) and horticulture (Latin America). A comprehensive state-based approach to the elimination of child labour is under way in Andhra Pradesh, India, and this aims to generate a replicable model for other Indian states to take up.

Time-bound programmes 233. Thus, the essentially experimental approaches tried and tested by IPEC

through the 1990s are increasingly being brought to scale through larger, in­tegrated programmes. The latest step in this evolution is the time-bound pro­gramme (TBP), which has been developed in response to requests from ILO member States for assistance in putting into practice the provisions of Con­vention No. 182 (see box 2.1 and figure 6).

Child labour in other ILO programmes

  1. Child labour is increasingly being taken up as an issue in other ILO pro­grammes that have the expertise to bring to bear on the problem. These in­clude, for example, the InFocus Programmes on Boosting Employment through Small Enterprise Development, Crisis Response and Reconstruction, Safety and Health at Work and the Environment and Skills, Knowledge and Employability, the ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work and the Gender Promotion Programme. The ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities and the ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities conduct and support activities against child labour by the ILO social partners.
  2. The ILO Declaration provides a framework under which child labour can be addressed as part of broader initiatives that encompass all four funda­mental principles and rights at work. In Bolivia, for example, a project fo­cusing on the cashew nut sector in the Department of Beni includes the elimination of child labour and discrimination against women as cross-cut­ting themes. With the involvement of IPEC, the project aims to strengthen the bargaining power of the workers involved in this sector with a view to improv­ing their conditions of work. A slightly different approach has been taken in Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger and Togo, where projects undertaken under the InFocus Programme on Promoting the Declaration have begun by con­ducting national studies to identify the obstacles that these countries face in giving full effect to all four categories of fundamental principles and rights at work. This places the analysis of child labour in relation to a broader context, thereby also encouraging interministerial cooperation at the national level.

Mainstreaming child labour in poverty reduction strategies

  1. This Report has shown clearly how poverty and social exclusion produce fertile breeding grounds for child labour. Unfortunately, neither economic re­forms nor conventional development models have yielded the promised out­comes for large sections of the population in the developing world. The average income today in the richest 20 countries is 37 times that in the poor­est 20 – a gap that has doubled in the past 40 years.[10]

Box 2.1

The time-bound programme concept

Time-bound programmes (TBP) aim to eradicate the worst forms of child labour within a determined period of time, and to demonstrate the positive im­pact this can have on a country’s social and economic development and, indeed, on the progressive abolition of all forms of child labour. The TBP concept com­bines sectoral, thematic and area-based approaches, linking action against child labour into national development strategies, particularly those addressing pover­ty reduction, education and employment promotion. Withdrawal of children from the worst forms of child labour is accompanied by provision of appropriate re­habilitation and education for the children, and income and employment alter­natives for their families, as well as measures to prevent other children from be­ing drawn in to replace them. Country ownership is key to the TBP concept. Official commitment at the highest level sets the programme development in mo­tion, creates the structures through which it will be implemented and allocates resources to it. IPEC, with the support of donors, backs this commitment with ad­ditional resources and technical assistance.

Integral to the TBP is the development of a monitoring and evaluation sys­tem, including targets and indicators, for assessing the impact, cost-effective­ness and sustainability of the programme. Three countries – El Salvador, Nepal and the United Republic of Tanzania – are in the “first wave” of TBP, made pos­sible by funding from the Government of the United States. Project documents were elaborated in the course of 2001 through a process of close consultation with the full range of national stakeholders, including child labourers. Research was carried out to build a better understanding of the worst forms of child labour to be targeted. The goals are ambitious – the numbers of children who are al­ready working or at risk of working in specified worst forms of child labour are: 26,000 in El Salvador, 33,000 in Nepal and 30,000 in the United Republic of Tanzania.1 Programme strategies can be grouped into those to create an en­abling environment for elimination of the targeted worst forms, and those involv­ing direct action. Gender issues, i.e. the different situations, problems and solu­tions for boys and girls, are taken fully into account in project design. Programme implementation was scheduled to start in early 2002.

It is very early days for this new approach. The next Global Report on the abolition of child labour in 2006 will provide an opportunity to review the extent to which the high expectations on all sides are being met, what problems have been encountered and how they were resolved. Another key issue is sustaina­bility – the extent to which national stakeholders have themselves been able to mainstream activities into their own regular budgets and programmes.

1 The worst forms of child labour covered include: for El Salvador, children in prostitution, children working in garbage tips, in fishing and on sugar-cane plantations; for Nepal, bonded labourers, rag­pickers, porters, domestic workers, carpet weavers, children in mining and trafficked children; for the United Republic of Tanzania, children in prostitution, mining, domestic work and commercial agriculture.

  1. But a worldwide commitment now exists to attack poverty. The United Commitment on poverty

Nations Millennium Summit, held in New York in September 2000, put in

place the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).11 Progress towards

achievement of each one of these goals, and, in particular, the goals to halve,

between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty

  • The MDGs are: (1) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; (2) Achieve universal primary education; (3) Promote gender equality and empower women; (4) Reduce child mortality; (5) Improve maternal health; (6) Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; (7) Ensure environmental sustainability; and (8) Develop a global partnership for development.

Figure 6. The Time-Bound Programme in the United Republic of Tanzania and to ensure universal primary education by 2015, will provide a backdrop against which the effective abolition of child labour can itself be realized.
Enabling environment

PRSPs: A vehicle for the 238. Poverty reduction on the massive scale required is an unprecedented

abolition of child labour challenge to the global community. In September 1999, the World Bank

Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) determined that nationally owned, poverty reduction strategies should provide the basis for all their con­cessional lending and for debt relief under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) are now being developed by country authorities for submission to the Boards of directors of the World Bank and the IMF. To date, more than 40 countries have prepared either Interim PRSPs (I-PRSPs) or full PRSPs (see box 2.2).

Fast-acting 239. Recognizing the brevity of childhood, the World Bank suggests that pol- measures essential icies on child labour should include “faster-acting measures” than those cus­tomarily adopted in poverty reduction programmes.[11] It is also critical that support be provided for poor people to manage risk and shock, as this reduces their vulnerability and allows them to take advantage of higher-risk, higher- return economic opportunities.[12]

Box 2.2

Poverty reduction strategy papers and child labour

There are six core principles underlying the development and implementa­tion of poverty reduction strategies. The strategies should be:

  • country-driven, involving broad-based participation by civil society and the private sector in all operational steps;
  • results-oriented, and focused on outcomes that would benefit the poor;
  • comprehensive in recognizing the multidimensional nature of poverty; but also
  • prioritized so that implementation is feasible, in both fiscal and institutional terms;
  • partnership-oriented, involving coordinated participation of development partners (bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental);
  • based on a long-term perspective for poverty reduction.

The PRSP process offers great potential for decent work, and with it the ab­olition of child labour, to be mainstreamed within national social and economic policy in low-income countries. To this end, the ILO, in consultation with its con­stituents and the World Bank, has selected five countries (Cambodia, Honduras, Mali, Nepal and the United Republic of Tanzania) as special focus countries in which ILO engagement will be carefully supported and monitored to demonstrate the contribution of the Decent Work Agenda to national poverty reduction.

An initial examination of the currently available PRSPs and I-PRSPs reveals that coverage of child labour is weak. The main focus on children is in connection with education and health policy and programmes; however, child labour is men­tioned relatively infrequently as a specific area of concern.

The I-PRSP developed by the Government of Gambia, for example, consid­ers the situation of children in its analysis of poverty, indicating that over half the country’s children live in poverty, mostly in rural areas. Child labour is wide­spread, especially among extremely poor households, and involves more girls than boys. While children are recognized as a target group of the strategy for pov­erty alleviation, specific targets relate only to health and education, with no men­tion of child labour.

The PRSP of Honduras is an example of a more comprehensive approach to children in both the diagnosis of poverty and in the responses envisaged. It in­dicates the increasing labour force participation of children in the wake of Hurri­cane Mitch, with children (aged between 10 and 14) working, on average, 33 hours per week, mostly in unpaid family labour. It goes on to describe a range of integrated policies and programmes to address the rights and needs of different “at risk” population groups, including overall support for children’s rights, the gradual and progressive eradication of child labour and the protection of working adolescents.

An initiative in IPEC aims to support the integration of child labour in na­tional poverty elimination strategies. In the context of preparation of the Time- Bound Programmes in Nepal and the United Republic of Tanzania, explicit ef­forts have been made to promote the inclusion of child labour in the design and implementation of PRSPs.

Source: www.worldbank.org/poverty/strategies/index.htm

  1. The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) pro­vides another vehicle through which the ILO and its partners seek to ensure that child labour is firmly on the development agenda. The presence of an ILO office in the country, and therefore of IPEC, clearly facilitates construc­tive engagement in country-based development planning. For example, the UNDAF is currently being updated for Zimbabwe. The ILO, through its re- gional Multidisciplinary Advisory Team for Southern Africa (ILO/SAMAT), based in Harare, is represented in the steering committee for this process. ILO/SAMAT is participating actively in different aspects of the process, with the result that the recently completed Common Country Assessment (CCA) devotes a section to the worst forms of child labour; activities and responsible agencies for the issues identified will be included in the revised UNDAF. The United Nations Country Team Thematic Group on Human Rights and Gov­ernance is active in child labour and children’s rights issues.

International action for children’s rights

  1. Awareness of children’s rights and commitment to their implementation grew during the 1990s, in parallel with the swelling concern for poverty re­duction. The World Summit for Children in 1990 resulted in the development of national plans of action targeting nine out of ten of the world’s children. Many of the Summit’s goals, particularly those on health, education and gen­der equality, prefigured the Millennium Development Goals. For the follow­up United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children in May 2002, the ILO, with the support of the social partners, is seeking to ensure that the outcome document clearly reflects the global commitment to the elimination of all child labour, with the use of the minimum age for employ­ment or work as the yardstick.
  2. In May 2000, two optional protocols to the CRC were adopted.[13] The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography entered into force on 18 January 2002. It emphasizes the need “to strengthen international coop­eration by multilateral, regional and bilateral arrangements for the preven­tion, detection, investigation, prosecution and punishment of those responsible for acts involving the sale of children, child prostitution, child pornography, and child sex tourism”.
  3. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict entered into force on 12 February 2002. It requires ratifying States to “take all feasible measures to ensure that members of their armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities” and establishes a ban on compulsory re­cruitment below 18 years. It calls upon ratifying States “to cooperate in the implementation of the present Protocol, … including through technical co­operation and financial assistance” for rehabilitation and social reintegration of former child soldiers.

Interagency cooperation

  1. Cooperation between the various international organizations concerned with children, poverty and development has intensified in recent years. The structural causes of child labour, such as poverty, inequality, and deficient education, health and child protection systems, fall within the mandates of different agencies. Thus, the core mandate of the ILO in this field is comple­mented by those of UNICEF, the World Bank, WHO, UNDP, UNESCO and others, each of which has expertise and programme experience to bring to bear on solving the problem.
  2. By working together, synergies between agencies can be exploited. The ILO and UNICEF drew up an agreement in 1996 to strengthen existing co­operation, confirming the complementary and mutually supportive roles of the two agencies in the progressive elimination of child labour and protection of working children. This agreement provides a framework for cooperative ac­tion to ensure coherent positions on policy and practice in child labour, to convene joint regional and subregional workshops on research for purposes of disseminating and exchanging experiences and to continue with technical cooperation and follow-up activities. In operational terms, the ILO and UNICEF implement joint programmes in Bangladesh, Brazil, Nepal, Pa­kistan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and collaborate in many other countries.
  1. Developing New Strategies for Understanding Children’s Work and Its Impact is an important new interagency project coordinated from the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy. Launched in Decem­ber 2000, this joint initiative of the ILO, UNICEF and the World Bank aims to improve child labour research, data collection and analysis, to enhance local and national capacity for research and to improve the evaluation of in­terventions. It is assessing existing information so as to identify major gaps and ways of filling them. Indicators are being developed to chart the dimen­sions of child labour and to relate them to income, gender, health condition and education.
  2. Another example is the cooperation between the ILO, UNICEF, UNESCO and Education International in a project to mobilize teachers, edu­cators and their organizations to combat child labour. This collaboration pro­duced two outputs: an information kit for teachers, and a report,[14] which assembled country experiences and assessed the extent to which education systems respond to the challenge of child labour, the obstacles faced and suc­cessful strategies to overcome them.
  3. The ILO collaborates closely with United Nations organizations con­cerned with human rights and children’s rights, such as the Commission on Human Rights, the Working Group on Slavery of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and the CRC. The CRC has expressed its intention to reinforce its cooperation with the ILO on child labour, especially with respect to the trafficking of children.

International action on education

  1. The call for universal, free and compulsory basic education is a central pillar in both poverty reduction and children’s rights goals. But despite many countries’ efforts to promote universal primary education and especially ac­cess for girls, progress has been disappointingly slow.[15] Current trends in en­rolment in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Arab States, which are home to 95 per cent of out-of-school children, give profound cause for con­cern. All States were enjoined, at the Dakar World Education Forum in 2000, to develop or strengthen national plans of action by 2002 at the latest and to integrate these into a wider development framework to address the chronic under-financing of basic education. Bilateral and multilateral funding agen­cies were urged to mobilize new financial resources, preferably in the forms of grants and concessional assistance. Countries qualifying under the World Bank’s HIPC Initiative are now expected to increase expenditure on educa­tion with the funds at their disposal.
  2. The first meeting of the High-Level Group on Education for All, in October 2001, reasserted that “no countries seriously committed to education for all will be thwarted in their achievement of this goal by a lack of re-sources”, and called for greater coordination of efforts, partnerships with civil society and increased and more efficient funding of basic education. Only through this, supported by a more concerted campaign at the global level, can the target of universal primary education by 2015, which is so critical to the abolition of child labour, be met.

international action on youth employment

  1. The international community has recently recognized the challenge of creating employment for the world’s 1.2 billion young men and women who will enter the working-age population during the next decade. This is re­flected in the Millennium Development Goal to develop “strategies for decent and productive work for youth”. The ILO has the lead role in helping to achieve the employment goals set by the World Summit for Social Develop­ment in 1995.
  2. Promoting productive employment for youth is closely linked to the ab­olition of child labour in two main ways. First, the general prospect of future unemployment or underemployment discourages children and their parents from investing in education and skills training, thus helping to perpetuate child labour among younger children. Second, the lack of decent work oppor­tunities for young people leaving school and entering the labour market for the first time means they may fall prey to unprotected, hazardous work, thus themselves becoming child labourers.
  3. To address the challenge, the United Nations Secretary-General, with the support of the ILO and the World Bank, has convened a High-Level Pol­icy Network on Youth Employment. A high-level panel met for the first time in July 2001. Its recommendations included forming a global alliance for youth employment, with particular attention to a youth employment dimen­sion integrated into comprehensive employment strategies, institutional sup­port for youth employment policies, investment in education and training, bridging the gap between the informal and the mainstream economies, and ensuring a social floor for young people by improving their working condi­tions, promoting their rights and recognizing their voice and representation at work. The ILO is taking a lead role in the follow-up, through its InFocus Pro­gramme on Skills, Knowledge and Employability.
  4. The social partners are also responding to the challenge. The Interna­tional Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), has established a Global Youth Programme.[16] The Employers’ group, following on from a survey con­ducted by the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), proposed a res­olution on youth employment to the 86th Session of the International Labour Conference in 1998, where it was adopted with unanimous support.[17] The ILO has recently produced a report: Meeting the youth employment challenge: A guide for employers, a collaborative effort between the InFocus Programme on Skills, Knowledge and Employability and the ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities.[18] This is designed to help employers and their organizations to in­itiate and expand action to promote productive employment for youth.

international action to combat transnational problems

  1. Types of child labour that involve cross-border activities demand co­ordinated action at the international level. Tourism for the commercial sexual exploitation of children is a case in point. In this field, a number of promising initiatives have been taken, including the establishment of a broad-based Task Force to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism, and its online service, the Child Prostitution and Tourism Watch, involving employ­ers’ and workers’ organizations. Bilateral agreements between source and destination countries of “sex tourists” can allow for exchange of information, harmonization of laws and judicial procedures, police cooperation and the ensured safety and welfare of child witnesses. For example, two such agree­ments have been concluded between the Government of the Philippines and the Governments of Australia and the United Kingdom.
  1. The need for such international collaboration in the context of the com­mercial sexual exploitation of children was recognized in the Yokohama Global Commitment 2001, which emphasized the importance of close net­working among key actors at the international, interregional, regional/subre­gional, bilateral, national and local levels. [19]
  2. Significant international action is also being taken to combat trafficking of children, for example in the Greater Mekong subregion, South Asia and West and Central Africa. A bilateral agreement concluded between Cote d’Ivoire and Mali to fight cross-border trafficking, provides for joint pre­paration of national plans of action for prevention, control, repatriation and rehabilitation.
  3. The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Traffick­ing in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted on 15 November 2000, gives new impetus to international efforts to reduce traf­ficking in children for purposes of their labour.

Regional cooperation against child labour

  1. Cooperation to combat child labour also happens more generally at the regional level. The Subregional Plan for the Eradication of Child Labour was launched by the ILO and MERCOSUR[20] in December 2001. Each MERCO­SUR member country has established a National Commission for the Eradi­cation of Child Labour and an action plan. The three-year MERCOSUR Plan, in which Chile is also participating, includes the following:
  • generation of statistics on child labour (with SIMPOC support);
  • improvement of labour inspection;
  • linkages between social safety nets and the trade union movement;
  • adaptation and application of legislation to give effect to Convention- Nos.138 and 182;
  • promotion of social programmes to keep children in school;
  • development of programmes on the worst forms of child labour, with em­phasis on commercial sexual exploitation, domestic work and manufactur­ing.
  1. Another example of regional cooperation is the work of the Southern African Development Community (SADC),[21] led by its Employment and La­bour Sector, to promote coordinated action among its member States and the social partners to combat child labour.
  2. National governments in the front line
  3. National political commitment is the key to the effective abolition of child labour. In the absence of firm policy commitment by the government, backed up by resources and translated into effective action, the best efforts of other partners in the fight against child labour are likely to result in making little more than a small dent in the problem.
  4. The obligation to establish, implement and monitor policies and legisla- Governments must tion, and to translate international commitments into domestic action, rests create the enabling firmly with governments. Inclusive, accountable systems of governance and environment sound macroeconomic management provide the foundations on which effect­ive, well-resourced policies and programmes to combat child labour can be built and sustained.
  1. This chapter outlines some of the core responsibilities of governments that will help to create a conducive enabling environment in which direct in­terventions (reviewed in Chapter 4 of Part II) for prevention of child labour and withdrawal of children from child labour will have the most effect.

The policy framework for the abolition of child labour

  1. Many countries have established distinct child labour policies, pro- Many countries have grammes or plans of action. For example, of the 36 governments addressing child labour policies this issue under the 2002 follow-up to the Declaration, 75 per cent (27 coun­tries) indicated that a national policy or plan aimed at ensuring the effective abolition of child labour was in place.[22] The focus of these policies differs from country to country (see box 3.1 for Mali and box 3.2 for the United States).
  1. Commercial sexual exploitation of children has moved developing, trans­ition and developed countries alike to take action. In its annual report under

Box 3.1

Mali: Legislative and policy reform upon ratification
of the fundamental Conventions

With the ratification of the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), Mali has amended its Criminal Code and Penal Code to include more repressive measures to deal with trafficking in children for labour exploitation.

New instruments are being drawn up to address the reorganization of the Employment Directorate services, to equip them to deal with the issues of surveil­lance and control of child labour. A national programme has the following objec­tives: conduct surveys and research on the living and working conditions of working children, undertake action programmes which address the priority needs of vulnerable families and communities, withdraw children from the worst forms of labour and consider how to reintegrate them socially and economically, orga-nize awareness-raising, information and education campaigns to promote and extend action, strengthen the institutional capacity of the implementation structures to maximize the impact of action programmes, provide decision-makers with quan­titative and qualitative information to facilitate action plans to combat child labour.

The action programmes have all adopted a partnership approach, which has made it possible to prevent children from working or to release children from the harshest and most dangerous forms of exploitation. This was achieved by offering viable alternatives in education as well as providing other support services such as awareness raising among children, their parents or guardians, employers, people in positions of responsibility and the trade unions. All of this work has been carried out through associations of working children, which were esta-blished and current­ly operate with the support of IPEC.

Source: ILO: Review of annual reports under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, Part II (Geneva, 2002), pp. 410-418.

the follow-up to the Declaration, the Czech Republic notes that a national plan includes a set of long-term measures aimed at eliminating child traffick­ing, prostitution, abuse and pornography.

  1. The Government of Ghana’s national programme focuses on children in prostitution, street children, domestic workers, porters and children working in small-scale mines, with priority given to girls, children working in very haz­ardous conditions and children under 12 years old. The youth programme adopted by the Government of Kazakhstan aims to create legal, economic and organizational machinery for the implementation of a policy to safeguard the rights of youth in work, education and health. The Government of Mexico established a special council to promote the development of children and ado­lescents through implementing an agenda which guides action by government and society in favour of children.

Vulnerable groups 267. Of the 38 countries under the 2002 review of annual reports that men- are targeted tioned specific measures or programmes of action to combat child labour, 20 countries gave special attention to the needs of particular groups of children: disabled children (e.g. Australia, Canada, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Syrian Arab Republic); street children (e.g. Ethiopia, Mexico); children perform­ing hazardous work (e.g. Lebanon, Pakistan); girl children (e.g. India); chil­dren with disadvantaged backgrounds (e.g. Belgium, Russian Federation); orphaned/abandoned children (e.g. Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Syrian Arab Republic); children in rural areas (e.g. Canada, Mali, Thailand); and children working in the informal sector (e.g. Mali, Mexico).

Box 3.2

United States: National Program of Action against child labour

Having ratified Convention No. 182, the United States Government put in place a National Program of Action directed at addressing the four principal is­sues that are regarded as most urgent and compelling:

  • preventing the criminal exploitation of children;
  • reducing workplace injuries and fatalities to young workers;
  • assuring that too much work does not adversely affect educational achievement and completion;
  • assuring that there is adequate information to make informed, appropriate decisions about the issues arising from youth employment.

The National Program of Action is designed as a living document to monitor programmes, identify new initiatives, and highlight areas in need of improve­ment. It identifies federal initiatives and federal/state partnerships that enforce laws and implement programmes in each of the above problem areas, and con­tains specific recommendations to carry their work forward. Progress in imple­menting the plan of action is monitored by the United States Department of Labor, and carefully considered by other relevant agencies at the federal and state levels.

Source: United States Government: Child labor: National Program of Action (Jan. 2001).

  1. At the same time as maintaining a specific policy on child labour, each government must mainstream the issue within overall policy frameworks in, for example, employment, poverty reduction, education and vocational train­ing, labour and social protection. Such mainstreaming has been a feature in, for instance, Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, the United Republic of Tanza­nia and Thailand.
  2. For its part, the Government of Jamaica 24 acknowledges that strategies for poverty eradication must address the problem of child labour within a child-focused framework. These strategies must:
  • be a part of public policies for children, developed jointly by government and civil society;
  • see the child in his/her social context, including the family;
  • promote gender awareness;
  • improve the income levels of poor families through targeted policies to ensure children’s access to and completion of primary school.

Institutional arrangements to support the abolition of child labour

  1. The need for an integrated approach to children’s issues, involving the many different parts of government that have a role to play, is frequently ac­knowledged but less frequently found in the structures of governance. A child-focused approach helps to bring about an integrated framework for ac­tion, as reflected in “children’s policies” that create an improved basis for dif­ferent ministries to focus together on meeting the various development needs [23] and rights of children.[24] This approach has been successfully adopted in

Colombia, Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines.

  1. Child labour policy often directs that a formal structure be created with a mandate to oversee the work on this issue. The combination of IPEC action and the provisions of the CRC have resulted, in many countries, in the estab­lishment of national steering committees, national commissions for child la­bour or child labour units to coordinate action, instigate consultations and create a critical mass of knowledge and expertise at the national level. Child labour units have been set up, with IPEC support, in Egypt, Turkey, Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  2. Other than the Ministry of Labour, ministries with a stake in fighting child labour may include those responsible for national development, eco­nomic policy, finance, rural and industrial development, public health, social welfare and protection, women’s issues, education and law enforcement. The child labour unit may act as the secretariat to a high-level institution that brings together this wider group of actors, sometimes charged with articulating and monitoring child labour policy. High-level committees consisting of rep­resentatives of government, employers’ and workers’ organizations, NGOs and academics have been set up in Argentina, Colombia, Kenya, Nicaragua, Portugal and Thailand, among other countries.
  3. In Colombia, for example, the National Commission for the Elimination of Child Labour, active since 1995, monitors the country’s national policy across a wide range of economic sectors and government institutions. It ex­tends to the work of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, and NGOs working with it, to provide psychological counselling, training and income­earning opportunities. Action by trade unions complements the national plan by urging employers not to take on anyone under the age of 15. As a result of this work, Colombia has seen a reduction in child labour in several sectors.

The legal framework

  1. Establishment of a legal framework for the abolition of child labour, along with mechanisms for its enforcement, is a responsibility that many gov­ernments have taken up. The vast majority of ILO member States have en­acted legislation to set a basic minimum age for admission to employment, and to address other aspects of the employment of under 18-year-olds. Even in the absence of ratification, ILO Conventions still have an influence on national legislation.[25] A coherent, national normative framework provides a stable point of reference for the various policy actors responsible for different as­pects of children’s rights. It also provides the basis on which violators of these rights can be held accountable (see box 3.3).
  2. While considerable progress has been made in establishing coherent na­tional legal frameworks, inadequacies remain in many countries. The ILO pro­vides advice on how legislation can be improved, for example, by harmon­izing the provisions of the laws relating to education and child labour, by in­creasing the scope of legislation to cover sectors such as agriculture and work in the informal economy and by defining how to determine the types of haz­ardous work to be covered by legislation. For example, the ILO Multidisciplin­ary Advisory Team for Andean, in Lima, commissioned studies in the Andean

Box 3.3

The role of legislation

  • It translates the aims and principles of international standards into national law.
  • It sets the principles, objectives and priorities for national action to combat [… ]child labour.
  • It creates the machinery for carrying out that action.
  • It creates specific rights and responsibilities.
  • It places the authority of the State behind the protection of children.
  • It creates a common understanding among all the actors involved.
  • It provides a yardstick for evaluating performance.
  • It provides a basis and procedure for complaints and investigations.
  • It provides legal redress for victims.
  • It provides sanctions for violators.

Source: ILO and Inter-Parliamentary Union: Handbook for parliamentarians: Eliminating the worst forms of child labour: A practical guide to ILO Convention No. 182 (Geneva, 2002).

subregion to help governments identify the gaps and inconsistencies in their legislation as a basis for law reform. It is equally important that legal proc­esses are reformed, for example, to introduce “child-friendly” court processes and treatment of child witnesses in ways that respect the dignity of the chil­dren involved.

  1. Legal instruments in a wide range of areas have a bearing on child labour, its causes and its consequences, including those relating to discrimin­ation and equal opportunities at work, freedom of association and collective bargaining, forced labour and trafficking, minimum wages, labour inspection, social security, health and safety, small enterprises, education, family law, criminal law and child protection. The framework should be reviewed in its entirety for its coherence, balance and coverage with respect to child labour. Countries can draw on the experience of others. Useful sources are the ILO’s Labour Legislation Guidelines [26] and the NATLEX database on national labour and social security law,[27] both of which have recently added more ex­amples of national approaches and full-text legislation.
  2. Putting the legal framework in place, however, is clearly only a first step, albeit a very important one. The more challenging aspect is how such legisla­tion can be effectively put into practice, particularly as child labour is so often hidden in the informal economy and government labour inspecto-rates in de­veloping countries may be severely under-resourced in terms of staff numbers, capacity and equipment to carry out their work effectively. Practical, effective mechanisms for enforcement are needed to define the res-ponsibilities of each party involved, to allow information to circulate freely among them and to cre­ate innovative mechanisms to generate critical information, particularly for the more hidden forms of child labour. People must also know about the law to be able to use it; raising awareness and legal literacy among children, fam­ilies and communities about their rights and how to pursue them is an indis­pensable complement to legal reform.

Birth registration

  1. Governments need to provide for universal birth registration for children. Without this, children cannot access social services or schools, and minimum ages for employment can be neither monitored nor enforced. Yet many nations lack effective systems for recording births. Every year, about 40 million chil­dren or one-third of all births, go unregistered around the world.[28] Migrant children are particularly vulnerable to all forms of exclusion, which is com­pounded by their lack of official existence, increasing the likelihood that they will end up in child labour and often in its worst forms. Awareness-raising campaigns are essential to ensure that parents are aware of the importance of registration and know how to go about it.

Basic social services provision

  1. One of a government’s prime responsibilities is to provide for essential services to children and their families. Such investment is needed to fulfil children’s rights to survival and development, and it is a crucial factor in long­term poverty reduction and the elimination of child labour. Yet, investment in children through health, education and social assistance usually represents only a small proportion of national budgets. Health care for mother and child, maternity protection schemes and immunization programmes, as well as so­cial assistance and childcare for working mothers all have a role to play in combating poverty and child labour.[29]
  2. A “child budget” seeks to establish what proportion of social services ex­penditure actually reaches the children who need it. For example, the Hunger Eradication and Poverty Reduction Programme in Viet Nam is reported not to reach the most needy groups, so that children may perceive no option but to work.[30] Systematic tracing of funds invested in child-related programmes, from national level to point of delivery, can reveal how much reaches the tar­geted children and how much is lost along the way. The fact that several min­istries often share responsibility for children and the existence of substantial official and unofficial development assistance and domestic programmes out­side the regular budget make such analysis difficult. But such a process can help improve the planning and delivery of public expenditure in the future.
  3. The provision of quality education for all children, as we have seen, is of crucial importance for the abolition of child labour. This means that:
  • Primary education must be accessible to all children: available where children live, adequately equipped, for example, with heating, light and sanitation, at very low or no cost to the family, with quality curricula and teaching materials.
  • Campaigning is needed to change prevailing negative attitudes to schools, alongside an improvement in their quality and relevance.
  • Special efforts are needed to counter the factors that keep girls and disadvantaged and socially excluded groups, such as disabled children, migrants and the very poor, away from school.
  • Teachers must be supported to do their job better, through good training and improvements in their status, pay and working conditions; respect for their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining is critical in this respect.
  • Primary education and secondary education up to the minimum age for employment[31] should be made compulsory, and students’ attendance monitored and supported where necessary.
  1. Education must not stop at primary level if young people are to be ad­equately prepared for the labour market and for decent work within it, rather than being confined to low-skilled, unprotected jobs in the informal economy. Yet in the least developed countries as a whole, secondary educational enrol­ment is only 19 per cent. For Africa, secondary enrolment is 34 per cent and for developing countries overall the rate is barely over 50 per cent.[32] Voca­tional training also needs to be better resourced, of higher quality and better integrated into the education system. Governments thus need to look carefully at the education system in its entirety, including both its quantity and its qual­ity, if it is to meet the needs of children and society as a whole and contribute its proper part to the abolition of child labour.
  2. Under the 2002 annual review under the follow-up to the Declaration, free compulsory education was cited as a measure being implemented to bring about the abolition of child labour by 33 per cent of governments replying (for enforcement of the minimum age for employment) and by 25 per cent (for elimination of the worst forms of child labour). The Government of India plans to introduce free compulsory education; a Bill providing for education as a fundamental right for children aged 6-14 years is pending approval by Parlia­ment. The Government of Lesotho introduced free primary education in Jan­uary 2000 as part of its efforts to eliminate child labour.

[1] See, for example, A. Morice: “The exploitation of children in the ‘informal sector’”, in G. Rodgers and G. Standing (eds.): Child work, poverty and underdevelopment (Geneva, ILO, 1981), pp. 131-158, which was influential in legitimizing the use of methods other than survey questionnaires in studies of child work in the informal sector.

[2]   ILO: Child labour: Targeting the intolerable, op. cit., p. 21.

[3]   IPEC: Defining hazardous undertakings for young workers, op. cit.

[4]   J. Boyden and J. Ennew (eds.): Children in focus: A manual for participatory research with children (Stockholm, Radda Barnen, 1997).

[5]  IPEC: Good practices in action against child labour: A synthesis report of seven country studies, 1997­98 by independent researchers: Brazil, Indonesia, Kenya, Philippines, the United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey (Geneva, ILO, 2001), p. 27.

[6] These reports are reviewed in an annual report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Con­ventions and Recommendations, which is examined by a committee of the International Labour Confer­ence. See, for example, Report of the Committee of Experts, 89th Session, Geneva, 2001. The legislation itself may be included in the ILO database, NATLEX (http://natlex.ilo.org/).

[7]  Country reports under the follow-up to the Declaration are published in full each March as a Govern­ing Body document in the Review of annual reports under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fun­damental Principles and Rights at Work. Part II. Compilation of annual reports by the International Labour Office, e.g. GB.277/3/2, GB.280/3/2 and GB.283/3/2, preceded by Part I. Introduction by the ILO Declaration Expert-Advisers to the compilation of annual reports (e.g. GB.277/3/1, GB.280/3/1 and GB.283/3/1). These are also available on the ILO web site (www.ilo.org/declaration).

[8]   IPEC was established with a voluntary contribution of DM50,000,000 from the Government of Ger­many.

[9]  For information on IPEC activities in recent years, see, for example, IPEC: Action against child la­bour: Lessons and strategic priorities for the future (Geneva, ILO, 1997); IPEC: IPEC action against child labour: Achievements, lessons learned and indications for the future (1998-99) (Geneva, ILO, 1999); IPEC: IPEC Highlights 2000 (Geneva, ILO, 2000); IPEC action against child labour 2000-01: Progress and future priorities (Geneva, ILO, 2001).

[10]  World Bank: World Development Report 2000/2001: Attacking poverty (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 3.

[11] P. Fallon and Z. Tzannatos: Child labour: Issues and directions for the World Bank, op. cit., p. v.

[12] World Bank: World Development Report 2000/2001, op. cit., pp. 6-10 and 15.

[13] The texts of the protocols can be accessed at www.unicef.org/crc/oppro.htm

[14] N. Haspels et al.: Action against child labour: Strategies in education (Geneva, ILO, 1999).

[15] World Education Forum 2000: Final Report (Dakar, Senegal, 2000).

[16] See Child labour at www.icftu.org

[17] See www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/ilc/ilc86/com-res.htm

[18] ILO: Meeting the youth employment challenge: A guide for employers (Geneva, 2001).

[19]  The 2nd World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, see www.focalpointngo.org/yokohama/default.htm

[20]  MERCOSUR is an agreement promoting deeper economic integration between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay; a social-labour declaration supplements the main accords.

[21] SADC member States are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

[22] The countries are Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cambodia, China, Comoros, Cuba, Czech Repub­lic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mali, Mexico, the Republic of Moldova, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand.

[23] ILO: Review of annual reports under the Declaration, Part II (Geneva, 2002) p. 301.

[24] IPEC: Good practices in action against child labour: A synthesis report of seven country studies, op. cit.,

[25] L. Swepston: “Child labour: Its regulation by ILO standards and national legislation”, in Internation­al Labour Review (Geneva, ILO), 1982, Vol. 121, No. 5, pp. 577-593.

[26]  See www.ilo.org/public/english/dialogue/govlab/llg/main.htm

[27]  See http://natlex.ilo.org

[28] U. Dow: “Birth registration: The ‘first’ right”, in The progress of nations 1998 (New York, UNICEF), 1998, pp. 5-11.

[29] ILO standards provide benchmarks in some of these areas, e.g. the Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183).

[30] World Bank: A synthesis of participatory poverty assessments fromfour sites in Viet Nam: Lao Cai, Ha Tinh, Tra Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City, Submission to the World Development Report 2000 by Viet Nam- Sweden Mountain Rural Development Programme, ActionAid, Save the Children Fund (UK) and Oxfam (GB) (Hanoi, Viet Nam, 1999).

[31]  During discussion of Convention No. 182, it was made clear that “basic education” in the context of the Convention referred to education up to the minimum age for employment (i.e. primary plus two or more years of secondary education).

[32]  UNESCO: Statistical Yearbook 1999 (Paris, UNESCO, 1999).