FAO in Geneva

FAO participates in the 44th Session of the Human Rights Council session in Geneva


The 44th session of the Human Rights Council commenced on the 30 June in Geneva.  The agenda of the session has several topics that are closely related to FAO’s mandate and work, including issues of poverty, the rights of children and women.

Speaking during the session which focused  on issues contained in the Report by the High Commissioner titled “Realizing the rights of the children through a healthy Environment,”   Ms. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Director FAO Liaison Office at Geneva thanked the High Commissioner for the Report and referred specifically to the section on children working in the agriculture sectors.  

 She underscored that while not all work in agriculture carried out by children is considered child labour, globally most of the child labour is found in the agriculture sectors, affecting 108 million children.  This figure corresponds with 71% of the global total.

“On the one hand, some activities help children to learn valuable farming skills and experience to use as adults, to develop socially and to maintain cultural beliefs and practices, while contributing to their own survival and food security.  On the other, however, child labour, perpetuates a cycle of poverty for the children involved, their families and communities,” she said.   

According to FAO, most children’s agricultural work is unpaid and takes place in one of the most dangerous sectors, in terms of work-related, non-fatal accidents and occupational diseases.

Ms Rodrigues-Birkett also stated that FAO will continue to work to address the root causes of child labour, such as poverty and the lack of social protection,  supporting the livelihoods and safety of children in rural areas through different programmes,  that focus on alternative and safe agricultural practices and technologies, as well as tackle climate change and environmental degradation.

“Working together to ensure a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for our children is not a choice, it is an obligation”, she concluded.

The 44th Session of the Human Rights Council is taking place in an unprecedented format due to the precautionary measures necessary to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The session is a hybrid one allowing for both virtual and some physical participation.  All participants must wear masks and observe physical distancing while in the meeting.

 More details on FAO work

 Social Protection


 Right to Food


 Protecting the right to a childhood. Ending child labour across the globe