The final report of the Global Child Labour Conference held in The Hague, May 2010, is now available from the conference organisers, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Over 500 representatives from 97 countries around the world participated attended the event, representing governments, workers’ and employers’ organisations, international, regional and non-governmental organisations and academia.
The conference programme included high-level speeches, the launching of the ILO’s 2010 Global Report on Child Labour and of the inter-agency report from the ILO, the World Bank and UNICEF on child labour and development policies. It also included panel discussions on the conference’s five thematic sessions on policy integration, financing needs, focus on Africa, political awareness and tripartite action, as well as a series of workshops falling under these themes. In the closing session, governments and organisations announced pledges of how they would step up their efforts in the fight against child labour. In addition, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, two former child labourers voiced their opinions and urged participants on to action.
As members and partners of the Global March know, the conference adopted by acclamation theRoadmap for Achieving the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016, now known as Roadmap 2016. The Roadmap was presented by Mr Piet Hein Donner, Minister of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands, to the International Labour Conference in June 2010 and should, in principle, be endorsed by the ILO’s Governing Body at its meeting in November 2010. Global March has written to the ILO Director General and Director of the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) to express concern over the delay in follow-up to the Roadmap. It has also suggested potential action that members and partners could take to initiate and accelerate follow-up (click here for more detailed information).
The report includes the text of the Roadmap itself, as well as reports of the various workshops and plenary sessions, and is a comprehensive account of what took place in The Hague. However, the conference is becoming a distant memory already in the rapid pace of change in the development agenda and the global economic crisis. The principle objective of the conference was to reinvigorate the worldwide movement against child labour, but any campaign requires momentum to survive and grow. Global March hopes that this momentum has not been too undermined in the light of the delays in follow-up and will continue to monitor this process and keep members and partners informed.
“We want the references to urgency and acceleration of action to be meaningful and for concrete follow-up to now take place,” said Global March Chairperson Kailash Satyarthi in commenting on the publication of the conference report. He continued: “The conference organisers, and indeed all of us as stakeholders, would do well to heed the words of Kinsu Kumar, the former child labourer who spoke at the end of the conference, when he said: ‘I want to make an appeal to have a world without child labour. You have money and the law, so go on to end child labour … You must work faster’. Millions of children have been waiting a long time for us to work faster. We have the resources and the knowledge and we cannot delay anymore.”
To download a copy of the final report in English, click here
The versions in French and Spanish will be available in due course and we will keep our members and partners informed.