Decent Rural Employment

FAO strives to prevent child labour in Cambodia


Nearly 60 percent of child labour - 98 million boys and girls - occurs within the agricultural sector, including farming, livestock, forestry, fishing and aquaculture. As part of its mandate, FAO strives to include child labour considerations into country policies and strategies for rural development. In this context, the progress and results achieved by the Government of Cambodia represent a success story.

Over the last years, the Cambodian Government has worked along with FAO to address child labour issues in fisheries and aquaculture. In particular, the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has proactively integrated child labour concerns into existing policies and legal frameworks. These efforts to mainstream child labour into national programmes have led to the drafting of a first Child Development Strategy for the Ministry as a whole, which includes a component on child labour prevention.

Such achievements have been the result of a continuous multi-stakeholder approach which started in 2010, when FAO and ILO held an International Experts Workshop on Child Labour in Fisheries and Aquaculture. The Government of Cambodia was one of the key actors involved in the workshop, which led to the development of the FAO-ILO Guidance on Addressing Child Labour in Fisheries and Aquaculture. In Cambodia, such Guidance has been used to improve the understanding of the nature, causes, and consequences of child labour in fisheries and aquaculture. For instance, the document has been adopted by World Vision in the implementation of its U.S. funded programme to combat exploitative child labour in the country.

In 2011, following a Government’s request for support, FAO conducted a participatory scoping study on child labour in Cambodia. The study was undertaken within the framework of the national consultations with fisheries organizations for the development of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). Such Guidelines were released this year and represent the first internationally agreed instrument dedicated entirely to the small-scale fisheries sector. They will guide dialogue, policy processes and actions at all levels and help the sector to realize its full contribution to food security and poverty eradication.

Moreover, in June 2015, within the broader context of the SSF Guidelines implementations, MAFF finalized a first draft of the National Action Plan 2015-2020 on gender mainstreaming and elimination of the worst forms of child labour in the fisheries sector. The Action Plan is expected to be endorsed by the end of the year.

Also the new FAO Handbook for monitoring and evaluation of child labour in agriculture, which has been successfully field tested in Cambodia, represents another milestone achieved with the collaboration of the Cambodian Government. The Handbook aims at equipping agricultural programme staff worldwide with the necessary tools and knowledge to integrate child labour concerns into their planning and monitor & evaluation systems. Additionally, it encourages the identification and use of good practices and innovative approaches to prevent child labour.

The work done so far by the Government of Cambodia sets a solid foundation to further address child labour issues in a systematic and sustainable manner in the country. FAO will therefore continue to cooperate with the Government to translate policy into action with the objective of reducing and preventing child labour in fisheries and agriculture.

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