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Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour

The international community agrees to redouble efforts to fight against child labour and forced labour

The three-day IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour concluded with the adoption of the Buenos Aires Declaration which spells out principles and actions to be taken. During the meeting, delegates presented almost 100 pledges for concrete steps towards the eradication of child labour and forced labour, and the generation of quality employment for young people.

Press release | 16 November 2017
BUENOS AIRES (ILO News) - The IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour, held in Buenos Aires, concluded with a call to action to accelerate efforts to end child labour by 2025 and forced labour by 2030, and to generate more decent employment opportunities for young people around the world.

The Buenos Aires Declaration was delivered on the last day of the three-day conference that convened delegations from around the world in the Argentine capital. More than 3,000 people signed up to attend plenary sessions, panel discussions on specific topics and special events in which some 250 speakers participated.

"We know what to do, and there are no excuses not to do so," said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, who participated in a high-level panel discussion in which he told delegates that "we have the duty to ensure a future of work in which there is no child labor or forced labour."

The Conference was organized by the Argentine Government with the support of the ILO and brought together representatives of governments, employers and workers, as well as civil society, and regional and international organizations.

It included a call to the national delegations to make pledges for concrete measures to accelerate efforts against child labour and forced labour. About 100 such pledges were made.

The Buenos Aires Declaration recalls that there are an estimated 152 million boys and girls in child labour, including 73 million engaged in the worst forms of child labour. In addition, 25 million people continue to be subjected to forced labour, including 4 million children. And at least 71 million young people are unemployed around the world.

The Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security of Argentina and president of the 4th global conference, Jorge Triaca, as well as representatives from social partners, presented the Declaration to the ILO.

"Child labour, especially in its worst forms, and forced labour, are serious violations and abuses of human rights and human dignity," the Declaration states, adding that "they are both cause and consequence of poverty, inequality, discrimination, social exclusion and lack of access to education."

The final document of the Conference spells out a series of principles and actions, which it urges governments, social partners, civil society organizations and interested parties to adopt.

The principles highlight the need to "address the best interests of children and adolescents," contains a commitment to respect human rights as well as fundamental principles and rights at work, and underlines the importance of tripartite social dialogue and coherent and coordinated national policies that generate decent work.

The actions, which cover most of the Declaration, are divided into three areas: politics and governance; knowledge, data and supervision; and partnerships and innovation. A starting point is the ratification of international commitments to eradicate child labour by 2025 and forced labour by 2030, as set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It also notes the support given to Alliance 8.7, which has been established to fulfill that objective of the 2030 Agenda in relation to child labour and forced labour.

"We hope that Buenos Aires will be the place where the international community takes measures so as not to tolerate the intolerable," Ryder said during the Conference. He said significant progress has been achieved and that child labor has been reduced in the last 20 years, but warned that with 152 million children still in child labour, it is time "to do more and to do it better".