World Day against Child Labour - countries to "go for the goal" and tackle child labour

As the football World Cup in South Africa kicked off, countries throughout Asia-Pacific marked World Day against Child Labour with an urgent appeal to "Go For the goal - end child labour".

Press release | 10 June 2010

BANGKOK (ILO News) – As the football World Cup in South Africa kicks off, the International Labour Organization (ILO) here in Asia and the Pacific and globally is marking World Day against Child Labour with an urgent appeal to “go for the goal – end child labour,” calling particular attention to the target of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016.

“While billions are caught up in the excitement of the football World Cup, some 215 million children are labouring for survival. Education and play are luxuries for them. Progress towards ending child labour is slowing down and we are not on course to end its worst forms by 2016. We have to get the momentum going again. Let us draw inspiration from the World Cup and rise to the challenge with the energy, the right strategy and the commitment it takes to get to the goal,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia.

In Asia and the Pacific, the region with the most child labourers ages 5-17 (113.6 million), one in eight children is in some form of child labour. More than 48 million children in Asia-Pacific are in hazardous work – representing some 42 per cent of all the children engaged in child labour region-wide.

The World Day against Child Labour is observed on the 12th of June each year. Events in Asia-Pacific are being held in 12 countries involving governments, employers, workers, and UN, non-governmental and civil society organizations. Events range from high level policy debates, to sporting activities, public debates, media events, awareness-raising campaigns, cultural performances and other public activities. They are taking place in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Philippines. (For a list of country level events, please see link below). Many activities will also focus new attention on the “Red Card campaign against child labour” initiative led by the ILO, including publication of a resource kit produced in collaboration with FIFA and aimed at using football to support projects with the goal of eliminating child labour.

In nearly 20 years of operation, and with a presence in more than 90 countries, the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) has acquired extensive knowledge about what works and what does not from its field projects in Asia-Pacific and elsewhere.

IPEC knowledge has also been distilled and presented in the form of knowledge products, such as resource kits and good practice digests. These support the training of national policy-makers in areas such as agriculture, children in armed conflict, human trafficking, education, monitoring, and policy and legislative responses.

Eleven middle and low income countries in Asia-Pacific have developed National Action Plans to end child labour within a time-bound period. Among them, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Philippines, Mongolia and Pakistan have introduced cash transfer schemes to poor and vulnerable households to accelerate school enrolments (and retention) and close the gender gap in basic education.

The World Day events come one month after more than 450 delegates from 80 countries met at a Conference in The Hague convened by the Government of the Netherlands to agree on a Roadmap to accelerate progress to reach the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016. The Roadmap sets out a number of guiding principles and identifies action to be taken by governments, social partners (workers and employers), civil society, non-governmental and other civil society, regional and international organizations.

Agreement on the Roadmap came as the ILO’s third Global Report on child labour warned that the global campaign against child labour is at a critical juncture. The Report shows that global efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour are losing momentum, and warns that unless they are significantly stepped up the 2016 target will not be reached.

This target was set in 2006 after positive trends contained in the previous Global Report suggested that the elimination of the worst forms of child labour was possible by 2016.

Please click here for the full list of country level events.

For further information please contact:

Mr Allan Dow
Communications and Advocacy Officer
ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Tel: +66 2 288 2057