Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima has addressed the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, stressing that Malawi has intensified her efforts to decisively end child labour.
Addressing the conference in Durban, South Africa on Sunday, Chilima said Malawi is implementing many interventions and has ratified several conventions to end child labour
He said the Malawi government is concerned that an estimated two million children – aged between 5 and 15 – are still involved in child labour in the country.
“We cannot, therefore, afford to watch and contemplate to postpone ending child labour to a later date. Immediate action is required to reverse these trends,” Chilima emphasized.
He said much focus should be interventions to the Agriculture sector which accounts for 70% of child labour, saying sector needs multi-faceted approaches that promote inclusive rural transformation and rural development.
The Malawi Veep informed the conference delegates Malawi has ratified the relevant ILO Conventions including, all fundamental conventions, such as, Conventions 138 on the Minimum Age of entry into employment, as part of efforts to elimate child labour.
“Corresponding legislation has been enacted in my country. We have the Employment Act aimed at regulating minimum standards of employment and prohibit child labour and forced labour. We also have the National Action Plan on Child Labour, the Malawi Decent Work Country Programme and the country’s current development blueprint, the Malawi 2063,” he told the delegates.
The Malawi VP also said Malawi has abolished the Tenancy Labour system due to its resemblance with forced labour or bonded labour, which is a crucial step towards the sustenance of the country’s efforts in the fight against child labour.
He called for quick interventions and policies to extend social protection coverage for children and their families; scale-up investment in free and good-quality education; promote rights of children from birth to adulthood; and promote decent work for young people.
Earlier, Chilima conveyed Malawi’s condolences to South Africa following the loss of over 400 people in Durban during the catastrophic floods last month.
The Durban conference is being attended by high profile delegates including Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, and Guy Ryder who is ILO Director General.
It follows a similar conference on the Elimination of Child Labour that took place in Argentina five years ago where Buenos Aires Declaration, which outlines the principals and actions to be taken. was adopted.
The Buenos Aires Declaration called for action to accelerate efforts by the Sustainable Development Goals’ deadline of 2025 to end child labour and 2030, for forced labour and for the generation of more decent employment opportunities for young people around the world.
Chilima is expected to return home on Tuesday, May 17.