Accelerating action against child labour; Global Report under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work - 2010

In its quadrennial Global Report on child labour, the ILO says that the global number of child labourers had declined from 222 million to 215 million, or 3 per cent, over the period 2004 to 2008, representing a “slowing down of the global pace of reduction.” The report also expresses concern that the global economic crisis could “further brake” progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016.

This Global Report comes at a critical juncture.
Looking back to 2008–09, the world has had to
cope with the impact of a financial and economic
crisis. Ahead lies the challenge of sustaining recovery
and building an employment-oriented framework for
strong and balanced growth. This defines the context
for future action to end child labour. The task
is enormous; our commitment must not waver and it
must be reflected in deeds.
Four years ago, in the second Global Report
on child labour, I underlined the fact that a breakthrough
in the fight against child labour was possible.
That Report showed that child labour was declining.
Public awareness had increased; indifference and
denial were no longer possible. The commitment of
member States was reflected in the high ratification
of the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138),
and the very rapid ratification of the Worst Forms of
Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), which came
into force ten years ago. Legislative reform was proceeding
apace, new approaches were being applied.
There was a widespread mobilization across governments,
employers’ and workers’ organizations, enterprises
and consumers, and members of the general
Given these developments, we were optimistic
enough to set the goal of ending the worst forms of
child labour by 2016. The challenge we set ourselves
was to raise our game and ensure that we would continue
to give effective leadership at all levels in the
world movement against child labour.