The Global March Against Child Labour is celebrating today 13 years of mobilising worldwide efforts to protect and promote the rights of all children, including the right to receive a free, meaningful education and to be free from economic exploitation.
Global March marks its anniversary with the goal of building on progress made in raising the profile of child labour on the international development agenda.
Since its inception on 17 January, 1998, the Global March has been a leading light in the fight against child labour. In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, which may rollback some of the progress made in the past decade, the need for a vibrant and coherent movement to sustain efforts to eliminate child labour remains essential.
The Global March brings together 2,000 partners in 140 countries as a strong and united voice for NGOs, trade unions, teachers’ associations and individual activists. The Global March has played its part in reminding the international community that all children must be protected from exploitation and abuse. It also works closely with Education International to highlight the link between the child labour and poor access to quality education.
The latest reports from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) indicate that progress in these areas is slowing. Similar challenges face the Education For All movement, emphasising the importance of maintaining international advocacy on these development goals.
2010 was a year in which global commitments for affirmative action to tackle child labour were renewed. The Global Child Labour Conference in The Hague in May 2010 saw universal backing for a Roadmap for Achieving the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016 (Roadmap 2016).
Global March and EI were key partners in the discussions to develop the Roadmap and remains equally committed to its implementation and follow-up across all sectors in 2011.
Marking the first anniversary of the Roadmap’s adoption on 11 May, 2011, Global March is organising an international stakeholder consultation to discuss its implementation. In addition, it will organise an international conference on the implementation of the Roadmap in October 2011.
A key event for the Global March and its partners will be the first World Assembly to be held in Morocco in October 2011. This event will be open to all members and partners and will be a major step forward in efforts to revitalise the worldwide movement against child labour with the launch of a five-year strategic plan of action, including mainstreaming child labour into EFA and MDG activities.
EI Deputy General Secretary, Jan Eastman, said: “EI supports the important work Global March is doing to free children from child labour and help give them educational opportunities to secure their future. EI, the Global March, and teacher unions worldwide are committed to continuing the defence of children's rights through the EFA and the fight against child labour.”
What role teachers’ unions can play in combating child labour is also being explored at EI’s World Women’s Conference from 20-23 January in Bangkok, Thailand.