Vietnam launches second programme of action plan against child labour

December 02, 2021 | 08:39
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The second Programme on the Prevention and Reduction of Child Labour for 2021-2025 was launched in Hanoi on December 1, 2021.
Vietnam launches second programme of action plan against child labour
The National Programme on the Prevention and Reduction of Child Labour for the 2021 - 2025 period, with a vision towards 2030, has been launched to accelerate Viet Nam’s progress in the fight against child labour

The event was attended by around 300 online and offline participants, including representatives from government ministries, the US Embassy and the EU, academic and research institutions, workers’ and employers’ organisations, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), industry associations and enterprises, and provincial level implementing agencies.

During the event, participants were introduced to the objectives and content of the programme, and provided guidance on how to translate these aims into concrete action.

Approved by the prime minister through Decision No.782/QD-TTg on May 27. 2021, the programme was developed and launched by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) in collaboration with related departments and ministries, with technical support from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

With a long-term vision towards 2030, the programme has three core aims: to prevent and detect cases of child labour, and support and provide interventions for children engaged in and at risk of child labour; to raise awareness on child labour prevention and reduction; and to deliver training and capacity building on child labour prevention and reduction. The content of the programme builds on the successes and lessons learned from the implementation of the first National Child Labour Programme implemented in the 2016-2020 period.

The first programme was coordinated and supported by a variety of ministries, sectors, provinces, and international organisations, resulting in enhanced capacity to implement child labour prevention and reduction at all levels and in multiple sectors, with targeted interventions and support provided to children and their families across the country.

Moreover, the legal system on child labour has been strengthened, with child labour prevention and reduction rising on the policy agenda, resulting in the mobilisation of Party committees, authorities, ministries, mass organisations, businesses, and society as a whole.

Through the launch of the second national child labour programme, the goal is to step up these efforts, in line with Vietnam’s commitments as a pathfinder country for Global Alliance 8.7 - a multistakeholder partnership to eliminate child labour in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 to eliminate child labour. As such, the upcoming programme is aligned with Vietnam’s Road Map towards SDG Target 8.7.

In order to achieve this target, more work is needed. According to ILO estimates, by 2020 160 million children worldwide were participating in child labour. As a result of COVID-19, this figure is predicted to increase by 8.9 million (rising to 168.9 million) by 2022.

In Vietnam, according to the results of the 2018 National Child Labour Survey, 1.03 million children aged 5-17, accounting for 5.4 per cent of children in this age group, were in child labour. The rate of child labour in Vietnam is almost 2 percentage points lower than the average Asia-Pacific rate, and over 4 percentage points lower than the global average. However, as global estimates suggest, unless urgent action, these figures will rise as a result of the global pandemic.

Addressing the launch event, ILO specialist Bharati Pflug emphasised the detrimental impacts of child labour, noting that: “child labour not only poses reputational risks to Vietnam as an international trade partner and weakens the capacity of the future workforce of the country, it undermines the rights of children and reinforces cyclical poverty. Today’s launch demonstrates the strong political will of Vietnam’s leaders to secure a better future for future generations.”

“Vietnam has committed to comply with international labour standards, including the eradication of child labour, as required by new-generation free trade agreements. The implementation of the National Programme will ensure that this commitment is applied in practice, facilitating Vietnam’s full integration into the global economy; this is crucial to the country’s economic recovery from COVID-19”, she added.

In her remarks at the event, Nguyen Thi Ha, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, emphasised that "Ministries, unions, localities, and organisations must actively develop plans and solutions to better prevent and reduce child labour in line with their respective responsibilities. We must also continue to implement policies to support employees facing difficulties in the context of COVID-19, in line with resolutions 68 and 126.”

The deputy minister also stressed the need to connect the child labour programme with other target programmes, namely the National Programme on Poverty Reduction and Social Security; the National Programme on Sustainable Poverty Reduction; the National Programme on Rural Development; and the National Programme for Socio-economic Development in Ethnic Minority and Mountainous areas.

Echoing this call, UNICEF Vietnam representative Lesley Miller highlighted that “Child labour can be prevented through integrated approaches that simultaneously address poverty, deprivation, and inequality, improve resilience and access to social protection services and quality education, and mobilise community support for respecting children's rights. It is also important to promote regulations on working conditions for children of working age; promote social norms and public attitudes in opposition to child labour; incorporate child labour concerns into education plans; and push the private sector and civil society to act together to eliminate child labour.”

By Thai An

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