During the week of 15 to 20 May 2022, the Government of South Africa hosted the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour. It built upon four previous Global Conferences, in Buenos Aires (2017), Brasilia (2013), The Hague (2010) and Oslo (1997), landmark events that raised the issue on the political agenda, mobilized resources and set the strategic direction for the worldwide movement against child labour.
The 5th Global Conference came at a critical time. The Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) achieved universal ratification in 2020, and 2021 was declared the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour by the UN. The Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) is among the most highly ratified Conventions. Despite such unprecedented commitments, there are still 160 million children in child labour, and the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse years of progress. The effective implementation of ILO child labour Conventions is needed, more than ever.
During this global event, we heard from prominent speakers, discussed critical issues and shared solutions that work. The Conference, which involved in-person as well as virtual participation, provided an opportunity to assess progress towards achieving SDG Target 8.7, discuss good practices implemented by different actors around the world, and identify gaps and urgent measures to accelerate the elimination of both child labour and forced labour. The programme included forums, panel discussions and brainstorming sessions, and culminated with the Durban Call to Action, which aims to make a real difference in the lives of children in child labour everywhere.
To learn more about the Conference, visit the official website.