According to the most recent statistics from the ILO, there are still 168 million child labourers worldwide. More than half of these are working in agriculture. With one year down since the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the problem is clear. As a response, the launch of the Alliance 8.7 is an important step forward and the ECLT Foundation is proud to join.
The alliance strengthens the global efforts to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, which form a key pillar of Goal 8 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Alliance 8.7 takes an inclusive approach, involving governments, UN agencies, international and regional organisations, workers’ and employers’ organisations, the private sector, civil society, academia, the media and more. I attended the high-level launch in September, at the Ford Foundation in New York, which brought together leaders for all of these groups. Discussions focused on solid commitments to move forward and what Omar Abdi, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF called a “multi-pronged approach to address the multiple causes” of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour.
Strong national policy, including the ratification of ILO treaties, reducing inequality, and promoting decent work conditions were subjects that were prioritised by speakers frequently. Through our project and advocacy work The ECLT Foundation has seen first-hand the benefit of working to train farmers and workers to have safer work conditions, build capacity of community members to save money, teach skills that generate more income in impoverished communities and encourage governments to develop and implement strong policy in line with international standards.
Models for joint action to address global issues, like the Alliance 8.7, help to pick up where individual efforts leave off, maximising reach and leveraging resources. Coordinated action through partnerships is a crucial step to galvanise political support and strengthen multi-stakeholder action to achieve SDG targets, cover governance gaps and move forward in a sustainable way.
The ECLT Foundation is an active member of the UN Global Compact at international level and in Switzerland, participates in the ILO’s Child Labour Platform and works itself to coordinate stakeholders to tackle to root causes of child labour. Through our project work, the Foundation has contributed to Alliance 8.7 consultations on the ground, helping to connect international efforts with local and national contexts. Each of these platforms provides to an opportunity to share experiences on common challenges and promising practices. The ambitious targets that the SDGs set out, including the elimination of child labour by 2025, depend on this sort of exchange between all sectors.