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Child Labour and Employment Policy : Decent Work Strategy Issues. Armand F. Pereira ILO-Brasilia Key Messages.

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child labour and employment policy decent work strategy issues

Child Labour and Employment Policy:Decent Work Strategy Issues

Armand F. Pereira


key messages
Key Messages
discussion topics
International context: Irreversible changes; key role and new opportunities for ILO.

National context (Brazil’s case): Advancements and challenges; possible lessons for other countries.

Enhancing ILO’s world role (what next to do?) (making ILO stand out as a unique agency).

Ways of inserting child labour actions in DW operations and vice-versa.

Discussion Topics
international context irreversible changes key role and new opportunities for ilo
International context: Irreversible changes; key role and new opportunities for ILO
  • Normative changes.
  • Conceptual and behavioural changes.
  • Policy and priority changes in key international institutions.
normative changes
Normative changes
  • 1919 - Convention No. 5 on minimum age in industry, and Convention No. 6 about night work of young workers in industry.
  • 1920 - Convention No. 10 on minimum age in agriculture, also addressing education.
  • 1930s - three more conventions on minimum age, including revisions of two earlier ones. ...
  • 1973 - Convention No. 138 on the (general) minimum working age consolidated earlier conventions.
  • 1999 - Convention No. 182 on worst forms of child labour to supplement Convention 138.
normative changes6
Normative changes
  • In the first 12 years (1974-87), C. 138 was ratified by 36 M. States, whereas in the following 13 years (1988-July 2001), it got 75 additional ratifications.
  • This large increase of ratifications reflects the greater international emphasis given to child labour since the early 1990s, as a result of several initiatives, including: IPEC, the post-1993 ILO debate on social aspects of trade liberalization, the 1995 Copenhagen Summit, the 1996 Singapore meeting, the 1998 ILO Declaration, etc.
  • C.182 (1999)- 93 ratifications by Aug 2001, 100 by Oct 2001.
conceptual and behavioural changes
Conceptual and behavioural changes
  • <mid-1990s: Child labour was perceived and explained mainly as a consequence of poverty: an incomplete, passive, and convenient approach that overplayed the role of income and justified slow changes in non-income policies.
  • >mid-1990s: Child labour perceived also as a spiral cause of poverty, calling for effective interventions in labour inspection and education that could speed up the rate of change, with the assistance of community action, media, etc.; (recognition that children may be pulled out of school because of direct costs of education rather than their contribution to family income).
policy and priority changes in key international institutions early 1990s
Policy and priority changes in key international institutions >early-1990s
  • W.B: lending programmes to primary education are being refocused to reduce incentives to and incidence of “harmful” child labour.
  • Poverty eradication is increasingly tied to child labour eradication, e.g. “District Poverty Initiatives Project” and “Rural Women's Dev’t and Empowerment Project”;
  • Key donor agencies increase their priorities and resources to child labour eradication.
  • Increased private donations enlarge the scope of UNICEF, as well as Save the Children, Forgotten Children, etc. with further mobilization effects on the public in general.
national context brazil s case advancements and challenges possible lessons for other countries
National context (Brazil’s case):Advancements and challenges; possible lessons for other countries
  • Rapid achievements.
  • ILO recognised as the initial key player, still with a crucial role.
  • Advantages and risks of achievements.
  • Current challenges for Brazil.
  • ILO’s changing role in Brazil.
r apid achievements
Rapid achievements
  • 20.6% reduction in child and adolescent workers of 5 to 17 years (inclusive): from 9,7 million in 1992 to 7.7 million in 1998 (next graphs).
  • Reduction from 22,5% to 18,1% in the proportion of children and adolescents working in the 5-17 age bracket;
  • 1.7 million reduction from 1995 to 1998, when efforts increased;
  • child-juvenile labour is increasingly concentrated in the 16-17 year sub-group (above legally min. age): 41,9% of those who worked in the 5-17 group in 1998; 38% in 1995 and 36,3% in 1992;
brazil child and young adolescent labour 1992 98
Brazil: Child and young adolescent labour, 1992-98
  • - 29.8% in the 5-15 year sub-group: from 5.7 to 4 million,
  • - 28.7% in the 10-14 year sub-group: from 4 to 2.85 million, and
  • - 21% in the 14-15 year sub-group.
r apid achievements under ilo ipec s early impact and continued influence
Rapid achievements under ILO-IPEC’s early impact and continued influence
  • ILO agreement with Gov’t and engagement of major emp’s and workers’ org. (1992-93);
  • engagement of other NGOs (e.g. Abrinq Foundation, Community Organization Movement (MOC), Projeto Axé, National Movement of Street Children (MNMMR) and the News Agency for Infancy Rights (ANDI);
  • creation of the nuclei against child labour in the Regional Labour Bureaux in 1995-96;
  • creation of the mobile labour inspection unit by the Labour Ministry with great initial success;
  • post-94 expansion of UNICEF activities; establishment of the ILO- and UNICEF-funded National Forum for Prevention and Eradication of Child labour in 1994; creation of related fora in every state (1997-2000);
r apid achievements under ilo ipec s early impact and continued influence15
Rapid achievements under ILO-IPEC’s early impact and continued influence
  • expansion of efforts of the Labour Prosecutions Office (MPT) to supplement labour inspection, partly inspired by closer relations with ILO.
  • Increase participation of the media as a key player and partner;
  • Launching of key F. Gov. programmes: “All Children in School” (1997), Programme for Eradication do Child labour (PETI) of Social Security Ministry (SEAS/MPAS) reaching 362000 in 2000 and 866,000 in 2002, and the “Bolsa-Escola” (ex-”Renda-Mínima”) of the Education Ministry [R$1.7 billion (US$600 million) in 2001.
ilo recognised as a key player
ILO recognised as a key player
  • “...there has been a major shift in attitudes about child labour in Brazil...” (Barker et al’s evaluation of IPEC-Brazil, 2001);
  • “There was a clear consensus from [38] key informants that a significant portion of the credit for the shift in attitudes is due to ILO-IPEC actions.” (ibid., p. 6).
  • “Federal, state and municipal level governments have mainstreamed many major ILO-IPEC principles and ILO conventions related to child labour eradication.” (ibid., p. 7).
advantages and risks for brazil
Advantages and risks for Brazil
  • International recognition of role model in spite of remaining challenges.
  • Possible preferential treatment from some donors for assistance to problems related to child-labour eradication.
  • Difficult compliance with C138 and C182 exposes Brazil to risks of more complaints in ILO, pressures in OMC and from organised consumer associations, etc.
challenges for brazil
Challenges for Brazil
  • Increase capacity to curb child labour in the informal sector where its worst forms are concentrated.
  • Ensuring continuity in family income cum education assistance programmes.
  • Achieving more effective integration between education, family income, and labour inspection/prosecution.
  • Enlarging education and inserting flexible education regimes (more shifts, after-work sessions).
  • Reverting the increased incidence of children and adolescents in drug-trafficking and prostitution.
  • Recognising and addressing the plight of domestic workers.
renewed ilo role in brazil informants views in barker et al pp 7 8
Renewed ILO role in Brazil (Informants’ views in Barker et al, pp. 7-8)
  • “While IPEC supported 70 Action Programmes in the last nine years -- nearly 40% of which were direct actions affecting children and families -- the political impact of ILO-IPEC funding was more important than the direct benefit to families and children.” (Barker et al., p. 7).
  • “”... the overwhelming consensus from key informants was that IPEC should neither pull out of Brazil nor end its activities, but rather should alter its role in important and strategic ways.” (Ibid., p. 8).
  • “Some national and state policy-level initiatives to eradicate child labour in Brazil remain fragile.” (Ibid., p. 8).
renewed ilo role in brazil informants views in barker et al pp 8 9
Renewed ILO role in Brazil (Informants’ views in Barker et al, pp. 8-9)
  • Assistance to monitoring national and state policies and initiatives;
  • Continuing to support (with both financial and technical assistance) the National Forum and the state fora to eradicate child labour;
  • Focusing on neglected forms of child labour;
  • Assisting federal and state governments in
    • generating employment/income,
    • promoting vocational training and school completion;
    • improving the quality of public education,
    • ensuring extension of school programmes and schedules, and after-school activities.
renewed ilo role in brazil ilo brasilia s view of top needs and priorities
Renewed ILO role in Brazil(ILO-Brasilia’s view of top needs and priorities)
  • Assisting the Government - through engagement of traditional social partners and other participants of the National Forum and of the state fora - in facing the above challenges especially in:
    • labour inspection/prosecution in the informal sector (the weakest leg of the tripod),
    • monitoring, evaluation of family income cum education assistance programmes and
    • integration of the three legs of the tripod.
  • Maintaining a flow of information and coverage incentives to the media.
  • Providing minor but key institutional assistance to various entities in carrying out their own studies and seminars, etc.
enhancing ilo s world role what s left to do
Enhancing ILO’s world role (What’s left to do?)
  • Decent Work as a basic framework for integrated strategies and actions against child labour.
  • Emphasising ILO’s comparative advantages in the DW framework.
  • Promoting ratification and/or application of C.138 and C.182.
  • Seeking and/or strengthening supplementarities with UNICEF, WB, UNCTAD, etc.
  • Promoting - with UNICEF, WB, UNDP... - complementarity of national donor agencies (USAID, GPZ, DFID, CIDA).
  • Developing cooperation with national organizations that foster social and enterprise responsibility.
decent work as a basic framework for integrated strategies and actions against child labour
Decent Work as a basic framework for integrated strategies and actions against child labour
  • Child labour eradication means:
    • improved future prospects for decent work of today’s working children;
    • improved social protection in present and future;
    • improved current prospects for more and more decent employment for those with legal working age.
  • The integration of objectives inherent in the DW framework (E, S, SP, SD) contributes to ILO’s unique position to tackle child labour.
emphasising ilo s comparative advantages in the dw framework
Emphasising ILO’s comparative advantages in the DW framework
  • Giving more prominence to employment/income effects and employment policy implications of curbing child labour, (in addition to: human rights, fundamental principles and rights, education, income assistance).
  • Enhancing the importance of standards, especially the critical link between labour inspection/prosecution and the other two legs of the tripod: I.e. education and family income.
  • emphasising and integrating child labour eradication dimensions of other DW-related initiatives on community employment/income, local development, informal sector.
  • Strengthening social dialogue and support from key international employers’ and workers’ organizations and media to: mobilization campaigns, publicity, fund raising, international project proposals.
implications of reducing child labour for employment and decent work
Implications of reducing child labour for employment and decent work
  • 250 million children of 5-14 years.
    • (120 million full-time; 80 million in hazardous work).
  • Equivalent to how many legal-working age jobs?
  • Taking into account working time, type of jobs and productivity, a guess may be 110-160 million, out of a world labour force of about 3.3 billion, i.e. 3-5%
  • Add to that the future negative employment/income implications of foregone education:
    • 145 million children 6-11 are out of school (85 million girls, 60 million boys);
    • 283 million children and adolescents 12-17 are out of school (151 million girls, 132 million boys).
promoting ratification and or strengthening application of c 138 and c 182
Promoting ratification and/or strengthening application of C.138 and C.182
  • Increasing world-wide publicity of record ratifications of C.182 and increased ratification of C.138 in recent years (see slide 6).
  • Emphasising in different means of action the supplementarity of the two conventions and their distinctive application requirements: I.e. whereas C.138 requires gradual action based on a tripod of integrated measures, C.182 requires primarily labour inspection/ prosecution measures.
  • Promoting national capacity for monitoring and evaluation via national and state fora, Es, Ws, academia, etc.
  • Developing time-bound programmes in collaboration with other international and national agencies.
seeking and or strengthening ilo unicef supplementarity
Seeking and/or strengthening ILO-UNICEF supplementarity
  • Joint policy on financial support to national and state fora for child labour eradication (don’t let them walk away with the ILO’s baby… and take credit for it; make them a partner with supplementary roles).
  • ILO set up of state tripartite-plus structures for UNICEF-assisted action programmes with key but limited ILO’s engagement.
  • Regional separation of ILO and UNICEF action programmes involving financial and technical support to common or similar partners.
  • Joint time-bound programmes for some of the worst forms on which UNICEF already has experience and capacity to expand activities.
seeking and or strengthening ilo wb supplementarity
Seeking and/or strengthening ILO-WB supplementarity
  • Education
    • ILO’s support and engagement in WB’s consultations before loans for expanding and improving school attendance.
    • Seeking WB’s support to ILO-IPEC’s Project for improving teaching strategies and curricula.
  • Poverty alleviation and eradication
    • ILO’s support to the set up and evaluation of family income cum education assistance (“bolsa escola”).
    • WB’s financial assistance to recipient entities of ILO’s Gender, Poverty, & Employment projects.
    • Seeking WB’s support to ILO-IPEC’s Project for improving teaching strategies and curricula.
  • Statistics for overall policy-programme evaluation
    • WB’s political support to intermittent replication of SIMPOC-related surveys.
evaluating the joint ilo unctad s misa initiative
Evaluating the joint ILO-UNCTAD’s MISA initiative
  • Assessing its viability for further expansion in Africa and other regions.
  • Strengthening or redefining this joint initiative.
promoting with unicef wb undp complementarity of national dev t agencies usaid gpz dfid cida etc
Promoting - with UNICEF, WB, UNDP... - complementarity of national dev’t agencies (USAID, GPZ, DFID, CIDA, etc.)
  • in supporting regular operations of state fora and associated state and local government agencies and NGOs;
  • in supporting state/local action programmes;
  • in promoting and supporting national and state/ local capacity for monitoring and evaluating of action programmes and standards application.

Developing cooperation with national partner organizations that foster social and enterprise responsibility, e.g., (in Brazil’s case) Ethos Institute, Abrinq Foundation, Ayrton Senna Foundation, Roberto Marinho Foundation/Canal Futura, etc.

summary and conclusions
Summary and conclusions
  • ILO’s achievements have made it an international reference that now deserves more publicity; ILO is less known for child labour eradication than it deserves; let the world know the facts and, in doing so, give publicity to countries that have achieved rapid results.
  • Part of the ILO success in some countries can be attributed to integrated approaches and measures that fit the DW framework (even before it was baptised as such).
summary and conclusions34
Summary and conclusions
  • ILO should nevertheless give more emphasis to its comparative advantages that play a critical role, but have been neglected: employment implications and labour inspection/prosecution aspects of C.138 and, in particular, C.182. These aspects are not addressed by other UN-system agencies, whereas educational and income aspects of child labour eradication are addressed by UNICEF, World Bank and several other entities. Social dialogue and statistics are two other comparative ILO advantages which have already been correctly explored. However, the statistics SIMPOC project requires urgent improvement and continuity.
summary and conclusions35
Summary and conclusions
  • ILO’s achievements enable it to act as a broker to child labour donors at international level and also in some countries; this creates opportunities, but requires selectivity tailored to specific country needs and ILO’s comparative advantages.
  • In some of the earlier IPEC countries, where achievements have been made and other institutions are capable of executing direct action programmes, it may be better (as in Brazil), for ILO to focus on policy and programme support and evaluation while cutting back on direct action programmes targeted at families.
summary and conclusions36
Summary and conclusions
  • Time-bound programmes, especially focused on the application of C.182, deserve special emphasis; where possible, however, they should be designed and negotiated with national partners in collaboration with UNICEF, World Bank and other international agencies, including national donor agencies operating in recipient countries.
  • At least in some countries, it may not be optimal for ILO to be executing such programmes alone as it will imply overlaps of institutional roles, unnecessary inter-agency competition and low value added to ILO’s activities.
summary and conclusions37
Summary and conclusions
  • ILO should work with other agencies and focus on dimensions on which it has strong comparative advantages, as indicated above.
  • Even in countries where significant achievements have been made, there may be a need (as in Brazil) for ILO-IPEC to continue to provide selective assistance to ensure continuity of ongoing programmes and to promote capacity for monitoring and evaluating them.
  • Armand F. Pereira, 2 Oct. 2001.