The role of social protection in eliminating child labour: review of the evidence and policy implications

Now is a critical moment in our fight to end child labour. With the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crises and conflict, progress to eliminate the practice has stalled. An estimated 160 million children are believed to be involved in child labor globally, and without mitigation strategies this number could increase to nearly 9 million by the end of 2023. We need solutions based on evidence that can expedite action to address it.

UNICEF and the ILO have partnered to develop actionable knowledge and best practices for a one-size-fits-all solution for countries – government-led social protection systems. Their new report argues that strong social protection systems are necessary for the reduction and eventual elimination of child labour, explores the mechanisms through which social protection can impact practice, and assesses the role of design features of programs in all settings. It draws on previous research, work by the ILO and new impact assessments.

Designed to inform program and policy development, it also makes recommendations for strengthening social protection systems to make them more effective in eliminating child labour.

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Joel C. Hicks