Global March Against Child Labour is the largest worldwide coalition of civil society, teachers and trade union organisations united in their determination to protect and promote the rights of all children, in particular the right to receive a free, meaning and good quality education and to be free from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be harmful to their physical, mental, spiritual, moral or societal development.
The UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda submitted the report “A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development” on 30 May 2013.
Feeding into the HLP consultation processes Global March made recommendations:
Firstly, for a future framework that had a clear human rights basis and focused on sustainable development;
Secondly, focusing on ‘hardest to reach’ and zero tolerance for poverty, discrimination and exploitation;
Thirdly, intertwining access, inclusion and quality.
Global March welcomes the five transformational shifts – leave no one behind, put sustainable development at the core, transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth, build peace and effective accountable institutions for all, and forge a new Global Partnership as the basis for a single, universal post-2015 agenda. The report provides 12 illustrative goals with 54 targets, the achievement of which it states would dramatically improve the condition of people and the planet by 2030:
- ending poverty
- empower girls and women and achieve gender equality
- provide quality education and lifelong learning
- ensure healthy lives
- ensure food security and good nutrition
- achieve universal access to water and sanitation
- secure sustainable energy
- create jobs, sustainable livelihoods and equitable growth
- manage natural resource assets sustainably
- ensure good governance and effective institutions
- ensure stable and peaceful societies
- create a global enabling environment that catalyses long-term finance
The indicators on quality education particularly ensuring every child, regardless of circumstances enrolling and completing primary and lower secondary education and meeting minimum learning standards will ensure not only access, inclusion and quality but also equity. However, it fails to identify and include the ‘hardest to reach’ categories that are falling through the cracks, leaving behind 61 million primary school-age children and 71 million adolescents out of school, many of them children in the worst forms of child labour.
The principle of peace and focus on the debilitating effects of conflict are crucial to upholding the human rights, equality, empowerment, governance, and sustainable development. Elimination of all forms of violence against children embedded within the indicator is welcome, but the wordings are too vague and lack a sense of urgency that is needed to prevent and protect children from all forms of violence.
Welcoming the inclusion of the proposed indicator on elimination of all forms of violence against children, Cleophas Mally, Regional Coordinator of Global March for Francophone Africa and Director of WAO-Afrique said, “An unknown number of children are victims of armed conflict each year in the continent. Thousands of children continue to be violated, killed or mutilated in the war. They serve as children soldiers, as spies, for suicide bombings (recent phenomenon) on the mainland or as human shields. Sometimes these children become sex slaves for armed forces or armed groups.” He urged, “to come at the end of this phenomenon, the civil society organisations must be mobilised more and work with the United Nations agencies in order to eliminate as soon as possible this phenomenon which constitutes a serious violation of the rights of the children. I hope that States and all actors responsible for the protection of children's rights will renew their commitment to make protection of the children the top priority in our continent.”
Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson Global March asserted, “We will continue to advocate for the inclusion of targets on the elimination of child labour, including the worst forms of child labour. Child labour has been recognised time and again as an obstacle to education for all and is clearly a cross-cutting issue that affects the goals identified relating to gender equality, education, sustainable livelihoods and equitable growth, and stable and peaceful societies.”
Similarly the pace of progress towards gender equality must be hurried and the indicator of preventing and eliminating all forms of violence against girls and women is re-assuring, and addresses the current gap in development goals. Global March has consistently advocated for stronger measures for protection of children, especially girls from violence including the prohibition of trafficking in all forms.
With the world in a crisis, bringing youth to the centre of the development agenda is a resounding yes to development of human capital, growth and sustainable development. With the development of human capital, it is important to focus on a rights-based human capital development, with freedom, justice and dignity at the centre. The ILO had warned of a “scarred” generation of young workers facing a dangerous mix of high unemployment, increased inactivity and precarious work in developed countries, as well as persistently high working poverty in the developing world. Three out of four out-of-school adolescents live in South and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, leaving millions of young people to face life without foundation skills they need to earn a decent living. One of the main challenges in elimination of child labour for Global March is how to substitute hazardous child labour into decent youth employment, particularly in informal work, so that young people remain in employment, earning decent wages and learning skills.
“While we face growing inequalities, discrimination, violence and anger worldwide, governments must first and foremost step up action to achieve the commitments made in 2000. The future goal post of 2030 can not be the postponement of the commitments for 2015,” Satyarthi added.