Ending Child Labour by 2025 will Require Decisive Action and Strong Leadership

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General, Qu Dongyu, was one of the UN agency heads who spoke at the Global Solutions Forum on Child Labor’s inaugural session. In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the two-day virtual forum aims to develop and expand ways to end the practice, which is a significant violation of human rights  

Almost one out of every ten boys and girls in the globe is forced to labour. Crop cultivation, cattle, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture employ 112 million people, or over 70% of the population. 

With the 2025 deadline looming, Mr. Qu emphasized the importance of effective action and strong and consistent leadership from agri-food stakeholders around the world. 

Child labour is a significant violation of human rights. It robs boys and girls of their childhood, as well as their potential and dignity, and harms their physical and mental development. 

While not all child labour is termed child labour, much of it is not age-appropriate, and many vulnerable families, particularly in rural areas, have no other option. 

Low family finances, a lack of alternative livelihoods, restricted access to education, insufficient labor-saving technologies, and traditional attitudes on children’s participation in agriculture are all contributing issues. These problems have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Global Solutions Forum is being hosted in conjunction with the International Year to End Child Labor. It brings together government departments, farmers’ organizations, workers’ groups, development banks, corporations, as well as children, youth activists, and former child labourers. 

The event is co-organized by FAO and the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labor in Agriculture (IPCCLA) and Alliance 8.7, a worldwide initiative against forced labour.   

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, described some of the solutions, which include providing financial assistance to poor families, improving healthcare and education, and extending social and child protection. 

Participants also heard from Pope Francis, who was represented by Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano, the Holy See’s Ambassador. 

PC: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Child-labour.jpg