The decision made by the ILO Governing Body will have significant impact on children in communities in all the 124 countries around the world where tobacco is grown.
The ECLT Foundation welcomes the International Labour Office’s strategy and affirms the ILO’s proposed approach to promote improved policies, strengthen social dialogue and assist tobacco-growing communities “to address decent work deficits, including child labour.”
The ECLT Foundation shares these priorities, but is cautious about the presented suggestion on sources of funding, particularly with regards to ending public private partnerships (PPPs) in 2018 (point 38).
Public-private partnerships are supporting strong national child labour policies protect all children, in tobacco-growing communities and beyond. These PPPs are strengthening tri-partite social dialogue, closing policy gaps and building the capacity of governments, through the direct support of the ILO, to address child labour issues at the national level.
The stakes are high for children, farmers and families, if the decision is not based on facts and impact. If long-term funds are not secured, work to fight child labour will be diminished and may end. Any solution must take into account long-term implications and the huge problem of child labour in countries where a significant part of the economy is linked to tobacco growing.
With the accelerated SDG 8.7 timeline to eradicate child labour by 2025, NOW is the time invest more in children, not to limit funding. The most recent ILO statistics show there are still 108 million children in child labour in agriculture. Public-private partnerships can continue alongside proposed funds from the ILO regular budget and give much-needed resources to support children, farmers and families.
Public-private partnerships are making a difference and have contributed to:
- More than 20,000 children in Malawi were supported to get out child labour and stay in school from child labour (since 2013).
- Families of more than 60,000 children across the region gained access to loans to pay school fees and start businesses for more stable incomes (since 2013).
- More than 7,000 children and teens in Tanzania have been enrolled in school or job training (since 2012).
- More than 30,000 farmers in Malawi to gain access to health and safety training.
On behalf of the children whose families depend on tobacco growing for their livelihoods, the ECLT Foundation strongly advocates that the ILO strategy ensures much-needed resources in the fight against child labour through public and private funding and long-term partnerships.
Media Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org