The document signed by Labour ministers, representatives of Governments and the Director General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, announces the "firm commitment to achieve the goal of eradication" and establishes a series of commitments based on strengthening intergovernmental cooperation.
The Regional Initiative was signed at the 18th American Regional Meeting of the ILO in Lima, in the presence of more than 400 delegates from governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations from across the continent.
"The initiative is part of a global effort to restore the rights of 168 million children and adolescents affected by the scourge of child labour," said the ILO Director-General.
During the presentation of the initiative at the plenary sitting of the Regional Meeting, he recalled that Latin America and the Caribbean had proposed to eradicate the worst forms of child labour by 2016 and to eliminate all forms of child labour by 2020. However, these particular goals may not be achieved.
In recent years important achievements have been made in reducing the number of children in child labour by 7.5 million. However the ILO noted that if progress continues at this pace, it will require at least 40 years to achieve the goal of eradication.
According to ILO estimates, there are 12.5 million children in child labour in Latin America and the Caribbean, of which the vast majority, 9.5 million, are in hazardous work. "This initiative unites us all in Latin America and the Caribbean," said the Minister of Labour of Peru, Freddy Otárola, who is President of the 18th American Regional Meeting, and who was responsible for the presentation of the initiative.
The "Regional Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour" was launched a year ago at the Third Global Conference on Child Labour, where several countries shared their concern about the slow progress, and suggested that Latin America and the Caribbean could be "the first region in the developing world to be free of child labour."
The initiative is designed to accelerate the prevention and eradication of child labour, and includes a number of indications to strengthen the mechanisms of action and identification of the practice.
The declaration signed in Lima states, that the persistence of child labour, especially its worst forms, is a factor that exacerbates social inequality, which deepens social and economic vulnerability.
Luis Cordova, press officer for the ILO, +511 6150386, +51 989301246, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alejandro Iturrizaga, assistant press ILO, +511 6150301, +51 99401775, email@example.com