The Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has reached a decision regarding collaboration with the tobacco sector to address decent work deficits, including efforts to address child labour in tobacco-agriculture, in the pursuit of the Organization’s social and legal mandate.  Acknowledging the time invested and level of compromise required from all parties on reaching this agreement, the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing (ECLT) Foundation strongly welcomes the Governing Body’s decision, which firmly keeps children and families at the forefront of this matter.

For two years, the ECLT Foundation has been following this discussion closely because of the significant impact this has on over 60 million tobacco farmers worldwide, and the millions of more families and children living in the 120+ countries where tobacco is grown. The decision made today by the global Union, Employers, and Member State representatives of the ILO Governing Body, provides legitimacy to the multitude of voices raised in concern on ending collaboration to address decent work deficits in tobacco-growing communities.  This includes the on-going work of the ECLT Foundation.

ECLT affirms the ILO’s decision to support on-going social dialogue with the sector and applauds the ILO’s commitment to provide needed funds to continue and build upon the existing efforts to eliminate child labour in tobacco growing in a sustainable way.

ECLT further acknowledges that, with the accelerated SDG 8.7 timeline to eradicate child labour by 2025, there is a hard road ahead to bring about meaningful change for children. The ILO Governing Body’s agreement to mobilise various sustainable sources of funding from the public and private sector, with proper safeguards in place, is exactly what is needed to help strengthen and sustain global efforts in the fight against child labour.

“The ECLT Foundation remains an independent organisation and partner in the fight to progressively eliminate child labour, committed to collaborating with all relevant stakeholders at national and international levels,” commented ECLT Executive Director, David Hammond. “Today’s clear decision from the ILO adds weight to the legitimate efforts against child labour, to promote long-term solutions to this complex problem.”

Founded in 2000, the ECLT is an independent, Swiss foundation, based in Geneva committed to collaborative solutions for children and their families that combat the root causes of child labour in communities where tobacco is grown.