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The role of international financial institutions and development banks in eliminating child labour in agriculture

Background paper










FAO and WB. 2021. The role of international financial institutions and development banks in eliminating child labour in agriculture. Background paper. Rome, FAO.




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    Elimination of child labour in agriculture through social protection
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    The aim of the guidance note on elimination of child labour in agriculture through social protection is to enable practitioners at national, regional and global levels to adapt social protection systems to contribute actively to eliminate child labour in agriculture. Universal social protection can prove an effective means to both address rural poverty and child labour in agriculture, if done right. This requires integrating child labour analysis into social protection policies and programmes, designing social protection programmes that address the underlying drivers of child labour and/or directly target families and communities prone to child labour. This guidance note analyses evidence related to both social assistance and social insurances as well as supportive functions in labour market programmes/livelihood support, social care services and their influence on child labour in agriculture. As a result, the guidance note outlines specific steps to integrate child labour analysis into social protection programmes targeting rural households depending on agriculture for their livelihoods.
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    Seasonal migration and child labour in agriculture
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    Agricultural production relies heavily on migrant labour across geographies and production systems, from large-scale plantations growing food crops for global supply chains to small-scale pastoralist families following their herds to new pastures depending on seasons. Much of the migration is seasonal, filling peak labour demands, such as during harvest. Hence, stable agri-food systems that can contribute to fulfilling Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on zero hunger are intrinsically intertwined with migrant workers’ lives and working conditions. While migration can provide families with new opportunities, it can also pose challenges to children migrating with their parents or left behind. Seasonal agricultural migration often occurs informally and remains invisible. Migrant children often supplement adult family members’ labour and see their access to education constrained, and children in migrant families are at significantly higher risk of child labour than other children in the destination area. This paper provides a global overview of the current state of knowledge and remaining gaps on the topic and highlights the challenges and opportunities to address child labour related to seasonal migration in agriculture.
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    Tackling child labour in fisheries and aquaculture
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    The global aquatic food industry, long under scrutiny over environmental sustainability concerns, has also come under increased scrutiny within the past decade over poor working conditions and severe human rights violations, including widespread use of forced labour and child labour. However, there is limited research and documentation available on child labour in fishing, aquaculture and fish and aquatic food processing globally. Much of the available evidence is centred on labour conditions in global supply chains. However, due to higher levels of informality, limited law enforcement capacity, and so on, it is more likely that children produce fish and aquatic-sourced foods for local consumption and domestic supply chains. To realize SDG 14 and make fish and other aquatic-sourced food production truly sustainable food systems, it will be necessary to step up efforts to eliminate child labour, protect young workers against the worst forms of child labour (including hazardous work, forced labour, and child engagement in illegal activities) and invest in a healthy, well-educated workforce for the future. This too is necessary to achieve SDG 8 and ensure that the millions of people who derive their living from fishing, aquaculture, and aquatic food processing work under decent conditions. This would entail expanding attention to aquatic food production for local and domestic markets in addition to the products that go into global supply chains. This background paper presents the challenges, opportunities, and recommendations to tackle child labour in fisheries and aquaculture.

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