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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to give our views on this important topic. On my side, I would like to highlight the role of FAO's work on social protection for eliminating child labour in rural areas.

We consider that social protection can contribute to the elimination of child labour in all the agricultural sub-sectors, when it is appropriately designed and implemented in coherence with the other relevant sectors. In fact, social protection interventions can address several economic and non-economic drivers of child labour among poor and vulnerable households in rural areas by: i/promoting economic inclusion, thereby reducing the need for small family farmers to send their children to work; ii/ Increasing resilience in case of shocks, including in humanitarian crisis thereby reducing the need for families to adopt negative coping strategies, including child labour; iii/ improving children’s access to education, thereby encouraging change in sociocultural norms associated with child labour and giving incentives and opportunities for building human capital in rural areas.

In order to eliminate child labour by reducing rural poverty, increasing resilience and promoting economic inclusion, FAO promotes the expansion of social protection to rural areas and a stronger coherence between agriculture, social protection and other relevant sectors. To improve the impacts of social protection on child labour in the coming months and years, FAO will focus its work on the following objectives, in partnership with Governments other UN organizations:

i/ creating and disseminating new evidence on the role of social protection for eliminating child labour in agriculture

ii/ developing a toolkit for the design and implementaton of integrated social protection policies and programmes for eliminating child labour in agriculture in developmentAL and humanitarian settings

iii/ promoting global and country-level dialogue on the negative impacts of child labour and the need to eliminate it from the world of agriculture and all of its sub-sectors

iv/ providing technical assistance to countries for the planning, design and implementation of effective strategies for the elimination of child labour in agriculture

v/ implementing innovative social protection interventions for eliminating child labour in agriculture

vi/ evaluating the impacts of those interventions in order to inform the implementation of the most effective strategies for eliminating child labour in rural areas.

Some examples from around the world show that social protection can reduce child labour:

Cash transfers and school enrolment

In Mexico, conditional cash transfers reduced child labour in agriculture by addressing income, agricultural or climate-related shocks, but only when conditions for school attendance such as the availability of school premises within a reasonable distance were met[1], which highlights the importance of having a coherent approach with the education sector to eliminate child labour.

Cash transfers and Economic inclusion

In Africa, unconditional cash transfers such as the Kenya’s Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Ethiopia’s Social Cash Transfers Pilot Programme in the Tigray region significantly reduced child labour and contributed to economic inclusion in agriculture.

School feeding

Using school feeding to complement interventions aiming to reduce child labour is a relatively novel approach. Preliminary evidence shows the positive impact of school feeding programmes in reducing child labour, as illustrated by success stories in Bangladesh (Food Education Programme), Egypt (School Feeding Programme) and Zambia (Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, combined with the Conservation Agriculture Scale-up Project).

Social and health insurance

Evidence from South Africa[2] and Brazil[3] shows that access to pensions reduces child labour, while access to health insurance has been an excellent way to reduce it in Guatemala[4] and Pakistan[5].

[1] De Janvry, A., F. Finan, E. Sadoulet, and R. Vakis. 2006. “Can Conditional Cash Transfer Programs Serve as Safety Nets in Keeping Children at School and from Working when Exposed to Shocks?” Journal of Development Economics 79 (2): 349–73.

[2] E. Edmonds: “Child labor and schooling responses to anticipated income in South Africa”, in Journal of Development Economics, 2006, Vol. 81, No. 2, pp. 386—414.

[3] I. E. de Carvalho Filho: “Household income as a determinant of child labor and school enrollment in Brazil: Evidence from a social security reform”, in Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2012, Vol. 60, No. 2, pp. 399—435

[4] L. Guarcello, F. Mealli, F. Rosati: “Household vulnerability and child labor: The effect of shocks, credit rationing, and insurance”, in Journal of Population Economics, 2010, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 169—98

[5] M. Frölich, A. Landmann, H. Midkiff, V. Breda: Micro-insurance and child labour: An impact evaluation of the National Rural Support Programme’s micro-insurance innovation, Social Finance Programme and Mannheim University, (ILO, Geneva, 2012).