Together we can eradicate Child Labour

Ms Dagmar Walter, Director ILO India, spoke at the MoU signing event between the South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Statement | New Delhi, India | 11 May 2021
Welcome all,

We are living in challenging times.  If achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was going to be a challenge to begin with, it is now even a bigger one with the Covid-19 pandemic.  As we know, the poor, the informal sector, are the most affected by the pandemic.  And we know well that it is the informal sector that hosts the most number of child workers.  This is particularly true for our region where informality is as high as 90 percent in many countries.  Therefore, the task in front of us is not an easy one.  And it is very clear that no-one, no single organization can achieve it alone.  The only way forward is through collaboration, cooperation and joining forces. This MoU is all about that.

As much as we work at national level, it is also important to work as a region. Many of the issues concerning decent work are shared across South Asia.  We have seen this clearly during the pandemic. And the same patterns apply to child labour.  In this regard, the partnership between SAIEVAC and ILO brings that advantage of being able to leverage and bring that much needed regional dimension.

The MoU is timely for many reasons, and one of them is that it coincides with the ILO’s Asia Regional Child Labour project.  The ARC project is present in five SAARC countries and has staff in each one of them.  It makes a big difference when programmes that are conceived regionally have a strong support mechanism on the ground, and that even if small, some resources are available to support implementation.  The ILO, through the ARC project is planning to support the implementation of some of the activities under the MoU.  We encourage the national level colleagues of both SAIEVAC and ILO to work closely together to realize the objectives of this collaboration.

It is significant that we are renewing our collaboration in this International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.  The theme of the International Year is characterized by three words, Act – Inspire – Scale up.  So today, we are committing not only to act but also to inspire others with the lessons and knowledge we will generate, and scale up the efforts to reach children in the entire region.