Trade for Decent Work Project - Ghana

The Ghana project is aims at improving the application of the ILO Fundamental Conventions as well as compliance with reporting obligations to the ILO supervisory bodies, in particular regarding child labour and the worst forms of child labour, in sectors with high incidence such as the cocoa sector, and related conventions contributing to decent work in those sectors and connected activities in the local and global value chains such as all services and transport.


Ghana is Member of the ILO since 1957 and has ratified all eight Fundamental Conventions yet it has to ratify the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No.29). Ghana has also ratified the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No. 81), the Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (No. 144) as well as a number of technical Conventions for example in the area of occupational health, including the Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention, 2001 (No. 184) and is party to most of the main international human rights instruments. It put in place legislation and institutions to ensure the protection of the safeguards in these instruments and monitor their enforcement. It also built up institutions to promote transparency, deal effectively with social conflict and improve access to justice.

Albeit in the past years, the Government has not consistently complied with its reporting obligations under ratified Conventions in particular as regards timely and adequate reporting and providing replies to longstanding issues raised by the ILO supervisory bodies on the application of the fundamental Conventions. Consequently, the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) made substantive comments and recommendations to the Government on measures to be taken to improve the implementation of these Conventions.

Moreso as since the signing of the Harkin-Engel Protocol in 2001, particular attention has been paid to eliminating child labour in the cocoa supply chain in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. To that end, government, industry and other stakeholders have invested considerable resources through a myriad of initiatives. Additionally, Ghana is also the largest recipient of foreign direct investments (FDI) in West Africa, mainly directed towards oil and minerals. Thus the extractive sector played a crucial role in terms of GDP growth in recent years, attracting various multinational enterprises. In spite of this, the country still faces different challenges linked to decent work and widening inequalities. The country benefited from a tripartite sensitization workshop on the ILO MNE Declaration in December 2019 which raised the importance of continued building of national capacity in this area; thus drawing the nexus between decent work and International Labour Standards, particularly the elimination of child labour.

Ghana has since 2000 made strenuous efforts to end child labour. These have included, but are not limited to the establishment of a sustainable institutional framework that led to the adoption of the National Plan of Action (NPA 1 and 2) on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (2009-2015 and 2017 to 2021). In spite of this, child labour has persisted and is endemic in many communities, especially deprived ones. To address this, the NPA 2 gives attention to the need to mobilize more resources, focus action on local. Gaps remain in adopting and enforcing legislation on child labour and trafficking in persons. While the National Steering Committee of the Child Labour Unit (CLU) drew up  a list of hazardous types of work under the Hazardous Child Labour Activity Framework, entitled the Ghana Hazardous Child Labour List (GHAHCL), this has never been officially endorsed, nor yet been adopted as law.

All these issues have become more important as the current Covid-19 crisis puts more pressure on families and societies through reduced income and sudden unemployment. In order to address these requests, the project Trade for Decent Work (T4DW), based on the activities identified with the Ministry has been formulated. The T4DW project in Ghana is part of a larger global project aimed at improving the application of the fundamental ILO Conventions in countries that are trade partners of the European Union, and includes the promotion of the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy.

This project contributes to two cross-cutting policy drivers: International Labour Standards and Social Dialogue. In particular, it seeks to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 concerning Decent Work and Economic Growth. In particular, the SDG indicator 8.8.2 on the level of national compliance with labour rights based on International Labour Standards (ILS) and indicator 8.7 that relates to the eradication of forced labour and the elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2025.


•    Strengthen the capacity of tripartite constituents’ to organize and/or actively participate in labour law review processes, to ensure that laws or regulations are aligned with relevant International Labour Standards.
•    Enhance the capacity of labour market institutions to develop coherent laws, and promote improved application and compliance with labour laws.


•    The capacity of constituents is strengthened to actively participate in national processes to comply with International Labour Standards (ILS), particularly the Fundamental Conventions, and reporting obligations, in particular on child labour
•    The capacity of tripartite constituents and other stakeholders is enhanced to advocate on the promotion/implementation of the Child Labour Conventions in the cocoa sector.
•    Awareness raised on the ILO’s approach to CSR, the roles and responsibilities of the different actors and the ILO MNE Declaration, its principles rooted in ILS and its approach.
•    The National Tripartite Council will be strengthened the monitor the role of multinational enterprises in achieving decent work through promotion of policies, including investment strategies and advocacy for FDI that results in decent work

Key activities

•    Capacity building workshops for tripartite constituents to strengthen their capacity with a view to addressing the comments made by the ILO supervisory bodies on Child Labour and Forced Labour Conventions and on reporting
•    Development of a roadmap to enact the legislative or other measures raised by the ILO CEACR to ensure compliance with ILO fundamental conventions
•    Contribute to the review the list of hazardous work prohibited to children in line with ILO Convention on child labour and submit for adoption
•    Dialoguing sessions on child labour in cocoa to increase advocacy on the elimination of child labour in the cocoa sector.
•    Train district labour inspectors, social workers and private cocoa-buying agencies on the implementation of the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring System in local communities.
•    Assist local government agencies to set up and train Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs) for the prevention of child labour
•    Conduct sensitization sessions on the ILO MNE Declaration with regards to the MNE approach to CSR, the roles and responsibilities of the different actors
•    Presents the ILO MNE Declaration to the National Tripartite Council
•    Organise a dialogue on the role of multinational enterprises in achieving decent work (based on the approach of the MNE Declaration and its principles)