Implementation Report 2014: IPEC action against child labour 2012-2013: Progress and future priorities

The ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) Implementation Report 2014 provides a summary of the work of the Programme during the biennium 2012-2013. It also provides an overview of significant developments during the biennium including the Global Conference on child labour and new global estimates on child labour.

The 2012-2013 biennium has been marked by a number of key events, including the III Global Conference on Child Labour, the publication of new global and regional estimates and trends of child labour, and the launch of the first in the series of World Reports on the role of social protection in the fight against child labour. This Implementation Report highlights the key developments and achievements of the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) in 2012-2013.

With the aim of equipping ILO constituents with the knowledge, expertise and skills necessary to eliminate child labour, IPEC’s strategy remains anchored in the effective application of the ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age, 1973, and the ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour, 1999, including follow-up to the comments and conclusions of the ILO supervisory bodies; as well as the ILO’s constitutional instruments, including the 1998 and 2008 Declarations; and the 2012 International Labour Conference Resolution on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. More specifically, during the biennium IPEC has been guided by the 2010 ILO Global Action Plan on the elimination of child labour, incorporating The Hague Roadmap on Achieving the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016 (2010). The Brasilia Declaration on Child Labour was adopted in October 2013 and endorsed by the ILO Governing Body during its 320th session in March 2014.

IPEC’s pursuit of an integrated fundamental rights approach is enhanced by its new position within the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) Branch of the ILO’s Governance and Tripartism Department.

Looking forward, IPEC will continue to frame child labour within an integrated decent work approach that recognises the mutual interdependence of all fundamental principles and rights at work.

IPEC achievements

IPEC has continued to support a wide range of work contributing to the elimination of child labour. This has included the provision of technical assistance to constituents, improving the knowledge base and supporting the worldwide movement against child labour through international partnerships, advocacy and action. Activities have increasingly focused on policy support and technical advisory services, while maintaining action in the field that directly help children in child labour and their families. In recent years, including in the 2012-2013 biennium, IPEC has pursued an increasingly integrated approach to the elimination of  child labour, linking fundamental rights, decent work, social protection and education. Further research needs to be done to examine the remarkable acceleration in the decline in child labour in the 2008-2012 period, but it appears that in a number of countries, increasingly integrated approaches have informed child labour policies and interventions more robustly than before.

During the biennium, IPEC provided technical assistance and advisory services to 95 member States plus Kosovo, and maintained operational activities in 81 countries.

In September 2013, the ILO launched a new global report, Marking progress against child labour – Global estimates and trends 2000-2012. The main finding is that the global number of children in child labour has declined by one third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million. The number of children in hazardous work stands at 85 million, down from 171 million in 2000. While the overall rate of decline is accelerating, the 2016 target for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour will not be met, and to reach that goal in the foreseeable future will require a substantial acceleration of efforts at all levels.

In October 2013, the Government of Brazil hosted the III Global Conference on Child Labour, which brought together 1,600 delegates from 156 countries including representatives of governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations and civil society. Participants agreed the Brasilia Declaration on Child Labour, which underlines the necessity of a coherent and integrated approach to achieving the sustained elimination of child labour by eradicating its socio-economic root causes. It recognizes the continued efforts of the ILO, and IPEC in particular, in providing technical assistance and cooperation to constituents, and reaffirms international resolve to
eliminate the worst forms of child labour by 2016, while reiterating the overarching goal of the eradication of all child labour and commitment to implement The Hague Roadmap.

IPEC’s work continued to be guided by the 2010 ILO Global Action Plan, which includes taking forward The Hague Roadmap. The biennium saw nine new ratifications of ILO Conventions Nos. 138 and 182; the  strengthening of regional and sub-regional strategies to address child labour; and a new generation of projects focusing on an approach aimed at integrating child labour issues into policies and programmes at all levels. As called for in The Hague Roadmap, the first World Report on Child Labour – Economic vulnerability, social protection and the fight against child labour was published in 2013.

Working with member States and the social partners, IPEC continued to provide assistance to support the mainstreaming of action against child labour in national development frameworks and the development of national child labour policies, programmes and/or national frameworks to eliminate child labour (including National action plans (NAPs), Time-bound programmes (TBPs), National master plans and Roadmaps). In 2012-2013, 10 countries released new or updated national child labour policies, and/or national frameworks to eliminate child labour.

IPEC continued to strengthen its work with workers’ and employers’ organizations, in particular through support for national employers’ and trade union centres’ engagement in national tripartite policy dialogue; support for the engagement for the local chapters of national and sectoral organizations in local child labour monitoring mechanisms; and support for employers in enterprises and workplace trade unions to integrate child labour concerns into their business, organizing and bargaining agendas.

Substantial progress has been made towards targets on child labour as set out in Outcome 16 of the ILO’s Programme and Budget for 2012-2013. The target of 34 member States for the first indicator related to the number of member States in which constituents, with ILO support, take significant policy and programme actions to eliminate child labour in line with ILO Conventions and Recommendations, was largely surpassed. The target of 46 member States for the second indicator related to the number of member States in which constituents, with ILO support, take action to adopt or modify their legislation or reinforce their knowledge base on child labour, was also largely exceeded.

This Implementation Report also provides a summary of activities and achievements under key strategies and thematic areas of IPEC’s work to support countries to tackle child labour.