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Child Labour Platform Engages Stakeholders to Eliminate Child Labour in Supply Chains

( UN Global Compact ) -  At a two-day meeting of the Child Labour Platform earlier this month, representatives from business, investment, civil society, trade unions, business associations, Government and the UN assessed the effectiveness of current approaches to eliminating child labour in supply chains and identified opportunities to further develop the platform.

The  Child Labour Platform is a multisector, multistakeholder forum for sharing experiences and lessons learned in eliminating child labour. An initiative of the  UN Global Compact Human Rights and Labour Working Group, the platform is co-chaired by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), and coordinated by the  International Labour Organization (ILO) and UN Global Compact.

In his opening remarks at the event, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder acknowledged the progress made in reducing child labour, noting the number of child workers around the world has declined by one-third to 168 million. Despite these positive figures, he warned of complacency and emphasized the need to accelerate efforts.

Participants were introduced to initiatives at both the sector and country levels, including an ILO initiative in Uzbekistan focused on tackling child and forced labour in cotton production. The Brazilian Ministry of Labour discussed how Brazil is addressing child labour through cooperation among state enforcement, public services, and private compliance initiatives. Business representatives participated in thematic discussions ranging from supply chain monitoring in the informal economy and building resilient supply chains through supplier relationships, to effectively engaging with Governments on the issue of child labour.

The second day featured a workshop by the Shift Project on the "Child Labour Guidance Tool" - a joint initiative of the ILO and the International Organisation of Employees (IOE). The tool provides guidance to companies in preventing and remediating child labour through appropriate policies, due diligence and remediation processes that are aligned with  ILO Conventions on child labour and the  UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Representatives from two major food and beverage companies shared their experiences in participating in the project.

Participants highlighted the need for close collaboration among business, trade unions, Government, and civil society to meet the particular challenge of tackling child labour in the informal economy, and pushed for clarity on the responsibilities of Governments and businesses in dealing with the issue.