Child labour

Denmark-led programme funds ILO project to combat child labour in Jordan and Lebanon among Syrian refugees and host communities in need

The Denmark-led Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP) has funded an International Labour Organization (ILO) project to combat rising child labour among Syrian refugees and host communities through labour policy reform and technical capacity building, to be complemented by direct services through partner organizations.

Press release | Beirut - Lebanon | 26 June 2015
Denmark's Ambassador to Lebanon Rolf Holmboe (right) and ILO Acting Regional Director for Arab States Frank Hagemann sign the funding agreement
Beirut (ILO News) - The RDPP has contributed US$654,000 to fund an ILO project that aims to provide practical and sustainable solutions to combat child labour among Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon and Jordan.

The contribution was made through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), which leads the RDPP, a programme funded with contributions from the EU, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK, Norway and the Czech Republic. This will build on long-standing ILO efforts in both countries to combat the worst forms of child labour, as well as adapt to the changing dynamics of child labour caused by the refugee crisis.

“As the pressures on labour markets in Lebanon and Jordan continue to mount, the worst forms of child labour are also on the rise,” said Frank Hagemann, Acting Regional Director of the ILO Regional Office for the Arab States at a ceremony at the ILO Regional Office in Beirut on June 26 to mark the agreement.

As the pressures on labour markets in Lebanon and Jordan continue to mount, the worst forms of child labour are also on the rise.

Frank Hagemann, Acting Regional Director, ILO Regional Office for the Arab States
“RDPP’s generous contribution addresses this by engaging Lebanon and Jordan in policy dialogue while also providing governments, workers and employers with the technical tools to enact reforms that deal with rapidly rising child labour stemming from the Syrian refugee crisis.”

A ‘dual-track approach’

The ILO project is titled “Tackling child labour among Syrian refugees and their host communities in Jordan and Lebanon.” It adopts a dual-track approach to tackling child labour by enacting policy reforms in refugee host communities as well as building the capacity of government, worker and employer institutions to combat and prevent child labour. The project will be implemented in partnership with the ministries of labour and national and international organisations in both countries.

"We are extremely pleased to be able to support this initiative against child labour in strong cooperation and partnership with the ILO and the governments of Jordan and Lebanon,” said Rolf Holmboe, Ambassador of Denmark in Beirut.

Children are among the most vulnerable in our societies and we are unfortunately seeing a rise in child labour, which is very heart-breaking.

Rolf Holmboe, Ambassador of Denmark in Beirut
“This will support their national plans to address this serious issue. Children are among the most vulnerable in our societies and we are unfortunately seeing a rise in child labour, which is very heart-breaking. So I sincerely hope this collaborative effort can help reduce this serious problem and offer more protection and a better future to affected children in this region."

ILO-facilitated policy dialogue will focus on reaching consensus between refugees, host community residents, government officials as well as worker and employer organizations, in order to enact labour market reforms that substitute child labour with access to decent work for refugees and host community residents of working age. Dialogue sessions will address rising social tensions between refugees and host communities rooted in the lack of employment opportunities, especially among low-income segments of the labour force. The ILO will also aim to build consensus around formalising employment for adult and adolescent refugees above the minimum legal age for work in certain segments of the economy.

The technical capacity of government, unions and employer organizations will also be built up in order to leverage existing ILO-supported national platforms to combat child labour such as Jordan’s National Framework to Combat Child Labour and Lebanon’s National Action Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016. Capacity building activities include bolstering child labour monitoring systems, updating public sector needs assessments and building cost-effective NGO child labour case management structures.

Enforcement mechanisms will also be strengthened in order to ensure that police, labour and agriculture inspectors, social workers, and community leaders can identify and curtail child labour, especially in its most hazardous forms such as agricultural andstreet-based work.

“By supporting policy reform and capacity building, the RDPP proves it maintains a holistic, well-thought out development aid policy which responds to systemic issues surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis,” said Hagemann. “This is the kind of support the confluence of the Syrian refugee crisis and child labour demand – support to operations on the ground that create sustainable long-term impacts on both policy and practice.”

For media queries, contact:

Salwa Kanaana, Regional Communication and Public Information Officer, ILO Regional Office for Arab States, Tel: +961 1 752 400 (Ext 117), Mobile: +961 71 505958, email: kanaana@ilo.org