Elimination of child and forced labour

Stakeholders committed to promote fundamental principles and rights at work in Pakistan’s cotton, textile and garment value chains

The ILO office in Pakistan carved out the roadmap for the elimination of child and forced labour and towards promoting fundamental principles and rights at work (FPRW) in the cotton, textile and garment value chains in Pakistan. These interventions will be spearheaded by two new projects of the ILO funded by the EU & INDITEX.

Press release | Islamabad, Pakistan | 04 October 2018
ILO News (ISLAMABAD): The International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with its constituents, key partners and stakeholders organized a three day strategic planning workshop on child labour, forced labour and fundamental principles & rights at work (FPRW) in the cotton, textile and garment value chains in Pakistan. The workshop was convened from 11-13 September 2018 in Islamabad under two projects:
  • Elimination of Child Labour and Forced Labour in the Cotton, Textile and Garment Value Chains: an Integrated Approach funded by the European Union (EU) and
  • “Promoting Fundamental Principles & Rights at Work in the Cotton Supply Chain” funded by INDITEX.
These multi-country projects aim to improving respect for FPRW for a sustainable cotton supply chain in Pakistan.

A significant number of relevant stakeholders, ILO officials and development partners from Pakistan participated in the captioned planning workshop and provided recommendations and pragmatic strategies to promote FPRW in Pakistan.

Various speakers including representatives of the ILO’s constituents; Mr Azhar Iqbal Hashmi Deputy Secretary Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Mr Mhuammad Rehan Nabi Labour and Human Resource Department Government of Punjab, Mr Fasihul Karim Siddiqi, Secretary General of the Employers Federation of Pakistan and Mr Zahoor Awan, Secretary General of Pakistan Workers Federation, Dr Shakeel Ahmed Khan, Seed Sector Expert Food and Agriculture Organization, Mr Muhammad Tahir Waqar, Senior Programme Manager, National Rural Support Programme, Dr Shafiq Ahmad, Pakistan Country Manager, Better Cotton Initiative, Dr Khalid Abdullah-Cotton Commissioner Ministry of National Food Security and Research Government of Pakistan, Ms Nadine Osseiran Programme & Operations Officer ILO engaged actively in the deliberations in the panel and group discussions.

Representing INDITEX, Mr Usman Aslam Sustainability Manager at Pakistan said, the partnership between the ILO and INDITEX was forged to improve FPRW in the cotton supply chain and to promote more investment from the private sector on the issues. He added that this project would be for the government, workers' and employers' organizations including businesses to work better together on the issues and promote decent work in the supply chain. He also gave a presentation on their sustainability initiatives and public private partnership with the ILO at global level.

Ms Anne Kofoed, Team Leader for Education & Governance, Delegation of the European Union Pakistan highlighted that the workshop was an important milestone for the new EU-funded project that would be implemented by the ILO over the next four years, as it allowed in gathering informed views of stakeholders on the activities foreseen in the project. She added that child labour and forced labour issues were addressed as part of the SDGs in the context of sustainable development in the EU trade policy. She further elaborated that the EU had supported ILO in the implementation of two phases of combating abusive forms of child labour previously as well and was glad to see that this project has built upon the learnings and lessons of previous experiences.

In her remarks, Ms Belinda Chanda Officer In Charge for the ILO Country Office in Pakistan said that the two interventions were designed within the context of Pakistan’s third Decent Work Country Program 2016-2020 and in particular, Priority 1 on “Promoting Decent Work in the Rural Economy” and Priority 3 on “Promoting International Labour Standards Compliance through Social Dialogue. Ms Chanda added that the intention of the consultative workshop was to draw on the experience and expertise of the stakeholders to tailor interventions responding to the country’s concern of addressing Child and Bonded Labour in the cotton, textile and readymade garment supply chains. Ms Chanda highlighted the overriding focus of the two interventions for the promotion of FPRW.

Speaking at the workshop, Mr Farrukh Toirov FAO Deputy Representative said that defeating hunger, promoting sustainable agriculture and eradicating child labour in agriculture were deeply intertwined. He added that the household poverty and hunger were powerful drivers for child labour in agriculture. FAO will proud to work with the ILO towards the achievement of SDG target 8.7 on child labour and forced labour to improve rural livelihoods in Pakistan.

The participants identified challenges related to child & forced labour and other FPRW in the cotton, textile and garment value chains. The priority districts, major stakeholders and time scoping for the two projects were also discussed and identified.

The workshop participants unanimously validated the outcomes of the two interventions and proposed major outputs and interventions for the two projects. Based on the outcomes of the workshop, work-plans for the two projects would be redefined in delivering the desired results.