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International Labour Organisation Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour to be held on African soil for the first time

Under-aged boys sell vegetables on the Soweto Highway in Johannesburg during peak hour every day to help support their families. Picture: Paballo Thekiso

Under-aged boys sell vegetables on the Soweto Highway in Johannesburg during peak hour every day to help support their families. Picture: Paballo Thekiso

Published May 5, 2022

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The International Labour Organisation Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour that will take place in Durban later this month was officially launched in the Kingdom of the Zulu on Thursday.

In collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Department of Employment and Labour will host the conference for the first time on African soil. Earlier versions of this gathering took place in the Americas and Europe.

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The global estimates on child labour that were jointly released by the ILO and Unicef last year show that although there has been some progress in reducing incidences of child labour across the world, Africa still lags behind other regions.

The conference is expected to bring together stakeholders from all over the world that will be drawn from governments, labour, business, civil society and international organisations such as Unicef, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank.

According to Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi, who launched the conference, the event will assume a hybrid format which will allow people to participate from wherever they are in the world.

At least 2 500 participants are expected to be present at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre and more than 5 000 people are expected to follow the proceedings on the virtual platform.

“The participants will engage, share best practices, advance policies and commit to the elimination of child labour. This is in line with the commitment of global leaders during the 2019 session of the UN General Assembly to end child labour by 2025.

“At the end of the conference, it is anticipated that they will adopt a document, titled the ‘Durban Call for Action’, which will commit everyone to promoting decent work, expanding educational opportunities, promoting universal social protection, and financing child labour elimination,” Nxesi said.

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He thanked the organisers for holding the conference in KwaZulu-Natal, which was ravaged by the recent floods and is still in the process of cleaning up and rebuilding.

Nxesi said he was pleased that the event organisers were showing solidarity with the province after the devastating floods.

The conference organisers took a decision to forego the usual social events that characterise such conferences and will be donating the savings to support the people of KZN in their reconstruction programme.

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The fifth global conference on the elimination of child labour is scheduled to take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban from May 15 – 20.

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