By Stanley Maphosa
During the week of 16 to 20 May 2022, the Government of South Africa will host the Fifth Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour together with the International Labour Organization (ILO). This Global Conference will take place in Durban, Kwazulu Natal Province. The conference will build on four previous Global Conferences, in Buenos Aires (2017), Brasilia (2013), The Hague (2010) and Oslo (1997). These landmark events raised the issue on the political agenda, mobilised resources and set the strategic direction for the worldwide movement against child labour.
South Africa is hosting of the fifth conference in line with Sustainable Development Target 8.7. This focuses on the elimination of child labour in all its forms by 2025 and the eradication of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.7 also aims to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”. The Conference will be attended by head of states, 120 ministers, and tripartite constituents of 187 member countries of ILO, United Nation agencies, academic institutions, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, media and civil society.
The key areas of child labour that will be discussed will be in the following areas
Child Participation at the fifth Global Conference on the elimination of child labour
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, UNICEF and Save the Children will join the Department of Social Development, Department of Basic Education and Offices for the Rights of Children in nine provinces to ensure that children are afforded an opportunity to express their views on the global fight against child labour. The Department of Employment and Labour and the ILO are the main hosts of the conference, the Department of Basic Education will play a leading role in this conference. Dr Stanley Maphosa, the Chief Programs Officer and Ms Zamajozi Sithole the Program Officer for the Youth Leadership Program will represent the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
The partners who will be facilitating and coordinating the conference consider children as respected partners in development and advocacy. As such, child participation will contribute to a more democratic and equitable engagement that would assist jointly for children and adults to make informed decisions on recommendations and resolutions from this all-important global conference. To that extent, children from all member States will be mobilised to attend a parallel session physically and virtually. Thirty children from South Africa, with a mix of Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament 2019 and 2021 Executive members, children from the farming, mining, trafficking, sexual exploitation, domestic sectors will attend physically. Fifty other children will be mobilised from the five ILO Regions globally. The participation of children in this manner will set a precedent for other such engagements to include and consult with children as the primary stakeholders and not only as the subjects of the engagements.
Objectives of Child Participation
Dr Stanley Maphosa with the Nelson Mandela Children's Parliament Ambassadors at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour.
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