A New Beginning in Uzbekistan: 2021 Monitoring of Child Labour and Forced Labour during the Cotton Harvest


About the event

Since 2017 Uzbekistan, the world’s sixth largest producer of cotton, has embarked on a historic reform process to move the country up the value chain and replace seasonal agricultural jobs with full-time year-round decent jobs. Uzbekistan is now positioning itself as a major exporter of textile products and ready-made garments instead of raw cotton.

The country has restructured its legacy agricultural system through privatization and liberalization of the cotton sector. The government has also invested significant resources in strengthening the labour inspection and has embarked on a dialogue process with local human rights activists to overcome historic problems with labour rights in this sector. As a result Uzbekistan has achieved remarkable success and managed to modernize the industry and move two million children out of child labour and half a million adults out of forced labour.

But what was the impact of COVID-19 on labour conditions in the 2021 cotton harvest? Has Uzbekistan managed to completely eradicate child labour and forced labour? Should international companies consider Uzbekistan as a responsible sourcing destination for textiles and garments?

Agenda

WELCOMING REMARKS
Mr. Kevin Cassidy – Director and Representative to the Bretton Woods, ILO Office for the United States and Canada
Ms. Olga Koulaeva – Director, ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team and Country Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

KEYNOTE 
Ms. Tanzila Narbaeva – Chairperson of the Senate of Uzbekistan, Chairperson of the National Commission on Combating Human Trafficking and Forced Labour
Ms. Anna Bjerde – Vice President, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank
Mr. Guy Ryder – Director-General, International Labour Organization (TBC)

2021 SURVEY: ILO THIRD-PARTY MONITORING OF THE COTTON HARVEST
Mr. Jonas Astrup – ILO Chief Technical Adviser, Third Party Monitoring Project in Uzbekistan
Mr. Shukrat Ganiev– Human Rights Defender and Lawyer, Uzbekistan

COLLABORATING FOR A BETTER WORLD OF WORK
H.E. Mr. Daniel Rosenblum – Ambassador of the United States to Uzbekistan
H.E. Ms. Charlotte Adriaen – Ambassador of the European Union to Uzbekistan
H.E. Mr. Konstantin Obolensky – Ambassador of Switzerland to Uzbekistan
Ms. Alice Wolken – Head of Mission, Embassy of Germany to Uzbekistan

CLOSE OF PROGRAMME
Ms. Olga Koulaeva – Director, ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team and Country Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Mr. Kevin Cassidy – Director and Representative to the Bretton Woods,
ILO Office for the United States and Canada