The International Labour Organization (ILO) has released its paper on cooperation with the tobacco industry in the pursuit of the Organization’s social mandate in preparation for the upcoming Governing Body session.
The ECLT Foundation has been following this discussion closely because of the significant potential impact that the Governing Body’s decision will have on children and families of over 40 million tobacco farmers in more than 120 countries where tobacco is grown around the world. On behalf of those children and their communities, the ECLT Foundation affirms the ILO’s commitment to supporting all avenues of collaboration that promise to deliver stronger national policies against child labour, to empower communities and to promote decent work, in line with ILO Conventions 138, 182 and 184.
The paper confirms that “ending child labour in tobacco growing is a requisite part of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target 8.7, calling for the elimination of child labour by 2025, and therefore it remains a priority for the ILO.”
The ECLT Foundation shares this priority, seeking collaborative and sustainable solutions, which support established international legal frameworks on children’s rights, in order to progressively eliminate child labour in tobacco-growing communities. There is still significant work to be done as, “of the 152 million children estimated in child labour, more than 70 per cent work in agriculture, including in tobacco growing.” To combat this, ECLT prioritises social dialogue as being critical to the long-term sustainability and scalability of our efforts against child labour and reaffirms our commitment to work with government, social partners, and other agricultural sectors in the communities where we work.
The ECLT Foundation will continue to follow this debate with great interest. It is our hope that the Governing Body will uphold the ILO’s lawful mandate to “advance opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work” and ensure the continued promotion of collective action to make a better life for children in tobacco-growing communities.