Time-bound programmes for the eradication of the worst forms of child labour

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The International Labour Organization Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (Convention No. 182) calls for time-bound programmes for the eradication of the worst forms of child labour . Countries ratifying this Convention must take immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour (WFCL) as a matter of urgency.

International Labour Organization Specialised agency of the United Nations

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social justice and promote decent work by setting international labour standards. The ILO has 187 member states: 186 of the 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands are members of the ILO. The tripartite structure is unique to the ILO where representatives from the government, employers and employees openly debate and create labour standards.

Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention

The Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, known in short as the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, was adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1999 as ILO Convention No 182. It is one of eight ILO fundamental conventions.

Child labour employment of children

Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful. Such exploitation is prohibited by legislation worldwide, although these laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists, family duties, supervised training, and some forms of child work practiced by Amish children, as well as by Indigenous children in the Americas.


Time-bound measures

Time-bound measures to address this issue will attempt to:

Time-bound programmes

The Time-Bound Programme (TBP) approach constitutes one of the means put in place by the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) to assist countries in fulfilling their obligations under the convention.

The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) is a programme that the International Labour Organization has run since 1992. IPEC's aim is to work towards the progressive elimination of child labour by strengthening national capacities to address child labour problems, and by creating a worldwide movement to combat it.

TBPs are designed as a comprehensive framework that governments can use to chart a course of action with well-defined targets. They comprise a set of integrated and coordinated policies and interventions with concise goals, specific targets and a defined time frame, aimed at preventing and eliminating a country’s WFCL. They emphasize the need to address the root causes of child labour, linking action for the latter’s elimination to national development policy, macro-economic trends and strategies, and demographic and labour market processes and outcomes, with particular emphasis on economic and social policies to combat poverty and to promote universal basic education and social mobilization. The TBP’s time horizon is set in accordance with the prevalence of the WFCL, the availability of resources, the level of local expertise and other conditions prevailing in the country.

Poverty state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money

Poverty is the scarcity or the lack of a certain (variant) amount of material possessions or money. Poverty is a multifaceted concept, which may include social, economic, and political elements. Absolute poverty, extreme poverty, or destitution refers to the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

Education Learning in which knowledge and skills is transferred through teaching

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators and also learners may also educate themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. The methodology of teaching is called pedagogy.

Focusing heavily on the rapid elimination of the worst forms of child labour, the TBP approach represents a logical progression of IPEC’s work to date while drawing on the experience that has been accumulating since the programme’s inception. TBPs pull together many of the successful approaches piloted by IPEC and others in the past into a comprehensive and scaled-up programme combining upstream policy-oriented interventions covering awareness raising, legislation and enforcement, education, employment and social protection with withdrawal and rehabilitation interventions. IPEC sees the TBP as a key strategic approach for attaining large-scale impact on the WFCL.

See also

Southern Africa southernmost region of the African continent

Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics, and including several countries. The term southern Africa or Southern Africa, generally includes Angola, Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, though Angola may be included in Central Africa and Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe in East Africa. From a political perspective the region is said to be unipolar with South Africa as a first regional power.

Little is known about the nature and extent of child labour in Botswana, although recent studies have shown that the phenomenon does occur in the country.

Significant levels of child labour appears to be found in Lesotho. The 1997 Lesotho Labour Force Survey found that 4.6% of males who were working full-time, 14.1% of males who were working part-time and 1.3% of male job seekers in Lesotho were aged between 10 and 15 years. Many of these would have been involved in herding and those with part-time work were not necessarily earning an income but may well have been working on family land in subsistence agriculture.

Related Research Articles

The Child Labour Programme of Action is the national plan on elimination of child labour in South Africa. It was provisionally adopted by a large group of key stakeholders in September 2003. These stakeholders include key government departments, including those responsible for labour, education, provincial and local government, water service, justice, policing, prosecution, social development, and education. The lead department is the Department of Labour. It was previously known as the Child Labour Action Programme, but was renamed in February 2006 because of the negative connotation attached to the abbreviation CLAP.

A Child Labour Programme of Action, sometimes called a Child Labour Action Programme or Action Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (APEC) is a national programme aimed at addressing child labour within a given country. It includes, but is not restricted to, the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

The programme Towards the Elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour (TECL) is a programme on child labour and related issues that is run in all the countries of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), namely Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

The Worst Forms of Child Labour Recommendation was adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1999 as ILO Recommendation No 190. The provisions of this Recommendation supplement those of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention and should be applied in conjunction with them. This article should be read together with that on the Convention.

Minimum Age Convention, 1973

The ILO Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment C138, is a convention adopted in 1973 by the International Labour Organization. It requires ratifying states to pursue a national policy designed to ensure the effective abolition of child labour and to raise progressively the minimum age for admission to employment or work. Convention C138 replaces several similar ILO conventions in specific fields of labour.

A National Action Plan on the elimination of child labour is a national strategy, plan or programme aimed at addressing child labour within a given country, usually with an emphasis on worst forms of child labour. Some countries also refer to this as an Action Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (APEC).

Child labour in Eswatini is a controversial issue that affects a large portion of the country's population. Child labour is often seen as a human rights concern because it is "work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development," as defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Additionally, child labour is harmful in that it restricts a child's ability to attend school or receive an education. The ILO recognizes that not all forms of children working are harmful, but this article will focus on the type of child labour that is generally accepted as harmful to the child involved.

Child labour in Namibia is not always reported. This involved cases of child prostitution as well as voluntary and forced agricultural labour, cattle herding and vending.

The Worst Forms of Hazards faced by Children at Work is a provision in the Worst Forms of Child Labour Recommendation adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1999. It sets out the framework for examining and assessing, "work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety, or morals or children".

World Day Against Child Labour international holiday, held every June 12th

The World Day Against Child Labour is an International Labour Organization (ILO)-sanctioned holiday first launched in 2002 aiming to raise awareness and activism to prevent child labour. It was spurred by ratifications of ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for employment and ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour.

UCW: Understanding Childrens Work

UCW: Understanding Children's Work is a programme to combat child labour. The 1997 Amsterdam Conference on Combating the Most Intolerable Forms of Child Labour and the 1997 Oslo International Conference on Child Labour both drew attention to the urgent need for concerted global action to end child labour, and called for an expansion of information gathering, statistics and empirical research to help inform this action. The inter-agency programme, Understanding Children’s Work (UCW), was initiated by the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF and the World Bank as one of the responses to the recommendations of the Amsterdam and Oslo conferences. Through a variety of research activities, the UCW Programme supports the partner agencies in improving statistical information on child labour in its various dimensions – its nature, extent, causes and consequences – as well as on what policy approaches are most effective in addressing it.

Child labour in Africa

Child labour in Africa is generally defined based on two factors: type of work and minimum appropriate age of the work. If a child is involved in an activity that is harmful to his/her physical and mental development, he/she is generally considered as a child labourer. That is, Any work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children, and interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work. Appropriate minimum age for each work depends on the effects of the work on the physical health and mental development of children. ILO Convention No. 138 suggests the following minimum age for admission to employment under which, if a child works, he/she is considered as a child laborer: 18 years old for hazardous works, and 13-15 years old for light works, although 12-14 years old may be permitted for light works under strict conditions in very poor countries. Another definition proposed by ILO’s Statistical Information and Monitoring Program on Child Labor (SIMPOC) defines a child as a child labourer if he/she is involved in an economic activity, and is under 12 years old and works one or more hours per week, or is 14 years old or under and works at least 14 hours per week, or is 14 years old or under and works at least one hour per week in activities that are hazardous, or is 17 or under and works in an “unconditional worst form of child labor”.

Child Labor in the Philippines is the employment of children in hazardous occupations below the age of eighteen (18), or without the proper conditions and requirements below the age of fifteen (15), where children are compelled to work on a regular basis to earn a living for themselves and their families, and as a result are disadvantaged educationally and socially.

Child labour laws are statutes regulating the work of minors. They are designed to prevent children from work that interferes with the children's ability to attend regular school or that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. Child labour helped fuel the Industrial Revolution by being able to access smaller work areas and cheaper labor. Prussia was the first country to enact laws restricting children from working in factories. After Prussia enacted its first laws, other countries followed such as France, England and the United States. The International Labour Organization, ILO, works to set global minimum standards of labour.


  1. ^ ILO Convention No. 182, Articles 1 and 7.
  2. ^ http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/themes/timebound/tbp.htm