Decent Rural Employment

Eliminating child and forced labour in the cotton value chains


On 20 November 2018, FAO and ILO will hold a workshop in Bruxelles to officially launch the project CLEAR COTTON - Eliminating child labour and forced labour in the cotton, textile, and garments value chains: An integrated approach. The project is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and will be implemented in Burkina Faso, Mali and Pakistan.

Cotton is one of the world's most widely grown crops and the most used textile fibre. Cotton production is a significant source of living income in developing countries. For many of these countries, the cotton value chain, especially if extended to textile and garments production, is central to economic growth, but it is often associated with poor working conditions. In particular, the high incidence of both child labour and forced labour along the cotton value chain requires immediate response.

The main purpose of the workshop, organised jointly by the ILO and the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), is to launch the CLEAR COTTON project and present its objectives and expected results. Stakeholders will share information on existing relevant approaches and will discuss the links of the project interventions in the target countries to global efforts for the promotion of the sustainability of the cotton, textile and garment supply chains.

In this context, the event will also highlight how the project is anchored in relevant EU policies and the pledges of the IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour in Buenos Aires, thus reinforcing its contribution to the achievement of Target 8.7 and other relevant goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda.

The date of 20 November has been selected to coincide the event with the Universal Children's Day.

The Project

The project will strive to promote enhanced national legislation and policies, to address the basic needs and rights of children engaged in or at risk of child labour, and of victims of forced labour. To do so, it adopts a value chain approach with the aim of cooperating with local producers, industries and international buyers. The project will be implemented over a period of four years starting in March 2018 and will mainly target three countries: Burkina Faso, Mali and Pakistan, together with a set of awareness raising activities in Peru.

The project includes an inception phase of six months that aims at refining and detailing the implementation strategy in the selected countries, in light of a mapping of existing information and interventions. Consultations with representatives of the respective governments, employers and workers' organizations, producers' organizations, civil society, UN agencies, and other stakeholders will be carried out to assess and discuss national priorities, identifying the major areas of interventions and the role of relevant stakeholders through a participatory approach.

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