Japan hosted a G20 Summit meeting for the first time in Osaka on June 28 and 29, 2019. ACE took this opportunity to conduct a series of advocacy activities for over a year. Please find a report on the activities below.
The result was what we had expected: G20 showed their commitments to the elimination of child labour in the Leaders’ Declaration and the Ministerial Declaration of Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting.
Policy recommendations from the Civil 20 (C20)
As a member of the Working Group, Employment and Business and Human Rights, we asked G20 to take concrete steps to eradicate child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery, and promote transparency in global supply chains and human rights due diligence in business.
Our President, Yuka Iwatsuki, as acting chair of the C20, presented the C20 2019 Policy Pack, which included the above recommendations, to Prime Minister Abe in April 2019, prior to the C20 Summit meeting.
Yuka Iwatsuki (the middle together with C20 chairs of Argentina and Saudi Arabia)
SDG 8.7 Dialogues
Child labour is an issue dealt with by the Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting of G20. Government officials of the Working Group for this meeting gathered three times in Japan before the Ministerial meeting in order to discuss the issue. On each of these occasions, ACE organised SDG 8.7 Dialogues and advocated for the elimination of child labour to be included in the outcome documents.
The First SDG 8.7 Dialogue (February, 2019)
The First Dialogue was held at the Member of the House of Councilors Hall in February 2019. A total of 25 representatives from eight countries, such as Argentina and the U.S., EU, ILO, and OECD participated in the Dialogue. After ACE introduced its activities and presented the policy recommendations, each country/organisation shared their policies and practices to tackle child labour. Participants appreciated the meeting: It was good to exchange information on effective practices and concrete actions among government officials, since such opportunities are few and far between.
The Second SDG 8.7 Dialogue (April, 2019)
The Second Dialogue was held over dinner at Hotel New Ohtani in Tokyo in April, 2019, which was sponsored by Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC, LIFULL Foundation, and The Japan Times. A total of 44 representatives gathered from eight counties, EU, ILO, and OECD, as well as from Ghana and Japan including RENGO (the Japanese Trade Union Confederation) and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency).
The opening remarks were made by Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Ghana. In Ghana, ACE conducts a project to eliminate child labour from cocoa plantations. From executive secretary of our partner organisation, CRADA (Child Research for Action and Development Agency), Mr. Nana Antwi Boasiako Brempong, introduced our project as a model case, together with Yuka Iwatsuki, president of ACE. She also reported on the C20 Summit which had been held just before this Dialogue.
Next, ILO and OECD explained their projects on child labour, followed by comments from the participants. We agreed to make further efforts to eliminate child labour by addressing its root causes.
The Third SDG 8.7 Dialogue (September, 2019)
The Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting was held in Matsuyama on September 1 and 2, 2019. The Third Dialogue was organised in Matsuyama on September 2. Though most officials left immediately after the end of the Ministerial meeting, ten participated in the Dialogue, including two from the ILO in Geneva. First, ILO officials explained the newly published report “Ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains” and responded to our questions.
Secondly, we held discussions. Challenges that were identified include a lack of data and how to utilise the report mentioned above to ask businesses to work on the eliminate child labour within their supply chains. Opportunities identified were the near realisation of universal ratification of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (ILO No.182) and the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour in 2021.
It was great that G20 has continued their commitments to the elimination of child labour in the outcome documents since 2017. It was important for us to establish contacts with G20 officials in charge of labour and employment, including child labour, ILO and OECD. One of the participants of the SDG 8.7 Dialogues said at the third Dialogue:
“A series of SDG 8.7 Dialogues have promoted dialogue between governments and civil society. We ask ACE to tell this to other NGOs through C20. We hope similar meetings will be organised to facilitate discussions between the two parties in the next G20.”
Utilising the contacts established and experience of organising Dialogues, we will strengthen advocacy activities at the global level. We would appreciate your support.