International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture

In collaboration with labour organizations and social partners, agricultural organizations can play important roles in eliminating child labour in agriculture. These organizations represent an important conduit to the national level because of their close contacts with national ministries or departments of agriculture, agricultural extension services, farmers’ organizations and cooperatives, agricultural producers’ organizations, agricultural research bodies and other organizations. However, in most cases child labour is not considered part of their mandate and therefore not integrated in their policy and action. For this reason, the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture was launched in 2007, with the signature of a Declaration of Intent, between the following partners:

  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
  • (formerly) International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP)
  • International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF)

The aim of the Partnership is to:

  • promote cooperation and programme and policy coherence on child labour among the Partners, especially at national level;
  • mainstream child labour into existing activities of agricultural organizations and help raising awareness on how child labour elimination contributes to achieving organizational mandates of agricultural organizations;
  • promote action and cooperation to improve rural livelihoods and alternative income-generating activities, and to ensure that children do not carry out hazardous work in agriculture;
  • promote opportunities for decent youth employment in agriculture and in rural areas.

Joint activities

Besides a number of global activities, the Partnership has started to support collaboration between labour and agricultural stakeholders at national level initially in Mali, Malawi and Cambodia, and it is expanding its support to other countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania, based on request.

In December 2010, the ILO, FAO and IUF jointly organized knowledge sharing and planning workshops in Malawi with key stakeholders. These resulted in a draft workplan of activities by national stakeholders to better address child labour in agriculture in the framework of the National Action Plan on child labour. As a follow up, in May 2011, a capacity development workshop on child labour in agriculture was co-organized in Salima, Malawi, by the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security with the support of ILO and FAO. Senior-level staff and managers and directors of relevant government and civil society organizations developed a common basis of understanding and knowledge exchange on child labour in agriculture, identified entry points and practices to better integrate child labour into current work of agriculture and labour organizations, and identified opportunities for joint action. In July 2011 a capacity development workshop on child labour in agriculture for district teams – including rural extension services, labour inspectors, health, education, producers organizations and others –  extended the coverage of these capacity building activities to the decentralized actors and developed action plans at district level.

In January 2011, a joint FAO – ILO mission in Mali on behalf of the Partnership fostered knowledge sharing between labour and agricultural stakeholders to reduce child labour in agriculture. With the support of the Partnership, national partners developed a Roadmap of priority actions to support the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour (PANETEM). Principal Roadmap activities supported by the Partnership in 2011 included a research study on child labour in the cotton and rice value chains  as well as viable alternatives (with a particular focus on labour saving technologies and safer agricultural practices) and a national workshop on child labour in agriculture  organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in December.

For more information, please see: Outcome of missions in Malawi and Mali.

In Cambodia, FAO and the ILO are initiating collaboration on child labour in fisheries and aquaculture following a government request for support. A scoping study on child labour is being undertaken as part of the consultation process with community fisheries centers for the Voluntary Guidelines on Small-Scale Fisheries being developed by FAO. Training for the Cambodian Fisheries Department on child labour has been conducted in December 2011 and will be continued in 2012. A jointly-supported national workshop on child labour in fisheries and aquaculture is currently planned for early 2012.

Meetings of the Partnership

After its launch in June 2007, meetings of the members of the Partnership were held in 2008 (28-29 January, ILO Headquarters – Geneva), 2010 (19-20 July, FAO Headquarters – Rome), 2011 (26 January, ILO Headquarter – Geneva and 27 September, IUF – Geneva), and 2012 (16 April, IFAD Headquarter – Rome). Please see the calendar of forthcoming events 2011-2013. Meeting reports are available on request.