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January 28, 2020

“Whole-of-supply-chain” approach to eradicate child labour

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is calling for a "whole-of-supply-chain" approach to addressing the issue of child labour in global supply chains. 

By Hannah Abdulla

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is calling for a “whole-of-supply-chain” approach to addressing the issue of child labour in global supply chains. 

ILO director-general Guy Ryder was speaking at a conference in the Netherlands this week that aims to set out the next steps in eradicating child labour in global value chains. 

The conference which runs 27-28 January, has been organised by the Dutch government in collaboration with the ILO, the Global March Against Child Labour and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

Ryder told an audience that efforts against child labour in global supply chains will be inadequate if they do not extend beyond immediate suppliers and include those involved in the extraction and production of raw materials.

He also urged governments to address the root causes of child labour in global supply chains, such as poverty, informality and insufficient access to education.

“Today, 152 million children are still in child labour. The need to accelerate progress is obvious,” said Ryder. “The UN resolution declaring 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour is a tremendous opportunity to keep the momentum, and to accelerate action towards the achievement of zero child labour, in all its forms, by 2025.”

Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, announced that the Netherlands will become a pathfinder country of Alliance 8.7 – the first EU Member State to do so.

The Alliance 8.7 partnership brings together 225 partner organisations which are committed to collaborating to achieve Target 8.7 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which calls on governments around the world to end child labour by 2025 and to put in place effective measures to end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030.

As part of a commitment to go “further and faster” to achieve Target 8.7, Pathfinder countries will implement new actions, try new approaches and share their knowledge. With this announcement by the Netherlands, 20 countries have so far committed to accelerate their efforts as Alliance 8.7 Pathfinder countries.

Others speaking at the event included Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Sathyarti and Bangladesh’s Denim Expert MD, Mostafiz Uddin.

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