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The New Delhi Declaration, November 13, 2003


Elimination of Child Labour and Achieving Education For All

The New Delhi Declaration, November 13, 2003

The international community’s efforts to achieve Education For All (EFA) and the progressive elimination of child labour are inextricably linked. On the one hand, education – and, in particular, free and compulsory education of good quality up to a minimum age for entering into employment – is a key element in preventing children from working in dangerous or hazardous conditions. On the other hand, child labour is one of the main obstacles to EFA and poverty alleviation. Girls’ work is a serious impediment to achieving gender parity in primary and secondary education by 2005.

The education sector has a great potential to contribute to the prevention and elimination of child labour, which should be an integral part of education policies worldwide. In addition to preventing child labour, the education sector can provide special measures to reintegrate children withdrawn from hazardous work into school. Still, policies that focus exclusively on the education system without accounting for the economic environment of households and the general state of the labour market will be insufficient to reduce child labour and achieve EFA over the long term. This underscores the importance of addressing the root causes of child labour and the poor quality of and access to education within a broader poverty reduction strategy in line with the Millennium Development Goals.

We acknowledge the significant efforts that are already being made by the international community for achieving EFA, the elimination of child labour and the reduction of poverty. However a more accelerated effort will be needed to meet our 2015 targets including increased levels of education funding and the improved targeting of these resources to better respond to the needs of working children. Great coordination between education initiatives, social protection programmes to combat child labour and poverty reduction measures is also important. In order to promote stronger linkages between these important development areas and to further the agenda in terms of mainstreaming and monitoring, we propose the formation of a global task force on child labour and education consisting of representatives from the ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank, Global March Against Child Labour, key agencies, donors and governments and the Global Campaign for Education, a broad network of teachers’ organisations and civil society groups. We thank the Brazilian government for inviting us to meet again and report progress on the occasion of next year’s High-Level Group meeting in Brazil.