Five Key Themes to Move Towards a Region Free of Child Labour

11 September 2018
Policy Innovation

Technical Secretariat  | The Technical Secretariat of the Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour

The Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour (RI) was established in 2014, before the adoption of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, by the region’s governments as an intergovernmental cooperation instrument and builds on 20 years of regional experience on the prevention and eradication of child labour. Its objective is to foster innovative strategies against child labour and contribute to achieving Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Children playing in Havana, Cuba. Unsplash/George Barker

As a tripartite platform, the RI includes national governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations. It has focused its efforts on the design of an innovative strategy to fight child labour—based on the capacities available—creating new knowledge and developing different tools and methodologies. The RI and Alliance 8.7 coordinate at the regional and global level in order to maximize the impact of their work.

The RI focuses on five key themes for innovation:

  • Associate
  • Unite
  • Accelerate
  • Cooperate
  • Go beyond

The RI operates through a Network of Focal Points, made up of representatives of the 28 Member States, five representatives of employers’ organizations and five representatives of workers’ organizations, that makes decisions and sets priorities. The RI decided to associate its Technical Secretariat to the International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO provides technical assistance in the planning, implementation and follow-up of the RI’s strategies; it gives the RI credibility among existing government platforms and employers’ and workers’ groups, such as the International Employer’s Organization, the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas and the Global Compact; and facilitates joint actions with other United Nations agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, among others.

The RI set out to unite the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, focus their efforts and set common goals and strategies to accelerate the fight against child labour in the region, and improve protections of young workers of legal working age so that they can benefit from decent work alternatives. The work of the RI has given the region a stronger voice on the international stage and made the issue of child labour a part of national public discourses.

The development of innovative methods to accelerate the reduction of child labour rates, which have stagnated in recent years, has been a central theme of the RI’s work. It has designed a new intervention model, the “Policy Acceleration Framework” and a tool, the “Child Labour Risk Identification Model”. The Model’s pilot program was launched in 2017 in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, and it is already becoming a key instrument for fostering comprehensive, cross-sector and interinstitutional policies to prevent and tackle child labour.

The RI is also working to strengthen intergovernmental cooperation based on the region’s existing capacity and experience through South-South cooperation. As a result, the RI is leveraging the know-how and existing good practices, bringing together a network of actors committed to the prevention and eradication of child labour, encouraging public-private partnerships and opening new channels for joint action, including with non-governmental organizations.

Based on national priorities, as reflected in its members’ development policies, the RI set out to go beyond and align its work with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Hague Conference Roadmap from 2010, the Brasilia Declaration signed at The Third World Conference on Child Labour in 2013, and the Buenos Aires Declaration, adopted at the Fourth Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour in 2017.

With the aim to promote analysis and discussions on effective policies and responses to tackle the persistence of child labour, the RI has created a web-based platform for the exchange of knowledge and a Smartphone app that analyses the relationships between Target 8.7 and the other 35 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals that have an impact on child labour. It is also working to increase stakeholders’ knowledge, understanding and capacities of key issues like migration, indigenous peoples and agriculture through toolkits and virtual training courses.

Through systematic reviews of policies and program evaluations, the RI is identifying and analysing what works to reduce the prevalence of child labour in the region. By leveraging the experience and knowledge accrued by public and private partners in the region, the RI is promoting South-South cooperation through interactive tools such as the capacity map that allows users to visualize factors that can accelerate the eradication of child labour.

The RI is making progress towards its goal of having the first generation of children and adolescents free from child labour in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2025. Future columns will examine these successes in more detail and discuss the work that still needs to be done. We look forward to sharing our experiences with the Delta 8.7 community through this column in the coming months.

The Technical Secretariat of the Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the RI.

This article has been prepared by the Technical Secretariat of the Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour as a contribution to Delta 8.7. As provided for in the Terms and Conditions of Use of Delta 8.7, the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of UNU or its partners.

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