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close this bookAction Against Child Labour (ILO, 2000, 356 p.)
close this folder1. National policies and programmes
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentINTRODUCTION
Open this folder and view contents1.1 STRATEGIC ACTION AGAINST CHILD LABOUR
Open this folder and view contents1.3 SETTING PRIORITIES FOR ACTION
View the documentAppendix 1.1 Terms of reference for a comprehensive report on child labour
View the documentAppendix 1.2 Ideas for group work in national planning workshops on child labour
View the documentAppendix 1.3 Example of a national plan of action on child labour, Cambodia, 1997
View the documentAppendix 1.4 Pointers to project design


The issue of child labour has long been viewed with a mixture of indifference and scepticism, but in the last decade the situation has changed dramatically. Child labour has been attracting growing attention both within countries and at the international level, and has emerged as the single most important source of child exploitation and abuse in the world today. As a result of growing awareness of the issue and the recognition that the use of child labour is not conducive to promoting long-term economic development, a large number of countries are attempting to eliminate it. The 1990s have witnessed an unprecedented number of countries adopting national policies and programmes on child labour.

What is the best response to child labour? Should actions focus on improving and enforcing child labour laws, on promoting compulsory education, or both? Are there other methods which might be as effective? Too often the problem of child labour is confronted in a piecemeal and scattered fashion, as a series of separate issues rather than as a whole. It cannot be repeated enough that child labour needs to be tackled in a multi-pronged fashion on all fronts: economic, educational, social and cultural. Moreover, as financial and human resource constraints exist, it is of utmost importance to make optimal use of them. Coherent national policies and programmes of action against the exploitation of children, clearly establishing objectives, setting priorities and providing the necessary resources to ensure implementation, are therefore a crucial starting-point for any meaningful action.

This chapter highlights effective strategies against child labour to facilitate the development of comprehensive national policies and programmes and to provide guidance on their formulation and implementation. Section 1.1 gives an overview of strategies which have proved effective. Section 1.2 introduces the topic of policies, programmes and projects and discusses the process leading to their adoption. Section 1.3 looks into the key features of national policies, programmes and projects and gives examples of how to set priorities for action. Finally, section 1.4 considers a number of questions related to implementing policies and programmes on child labour, in particular the role of society in ensuring that policy commitments are being met, as well as coordinating and accountability mechanisms. Appendices are included on terms of reference for a report on child labour, group work in national planning workshops, and project design.