8 May – Brussels: - Representing Europe’s chocolate and cocoa industry, Sabine Nafziger, Caobisco’s Secretary General, joined a panel debate discussing the eradication of child labour in the cocoa supply chain, which took place at the European Parliament today.
“The collective challenge facing all stakeholders working to eliminate hazardous child labour conditions in cocoa farming communities of Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana is understood and we recognise the need to accelerate efforts,” said Sabine Nafziger.
Too many children in cocoa households are helping out on the farm in ways that are damaging to their own health and well-being – carrying loads too heavy, young children using machetes without adult supervision, spraying pesticides without protection, or assisting on the farm at the expense of attending school.
Since signing the Harkin-Engel Cocoa Protocol in 2001, a decade-long partnership between the International cocoa and chocolate industry, the countries of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana and U.S. government are improving the lives of hundreds and thousands of cocoa farming families.
Industry programs have already made a difference to over a million vulnerable children in West Africa. Programmes focus on:
1) increasing access to education (building schools, training teachers),
2) educating cocoa farmers on unacceptable labour practices, but also
3) improving agricultural practices to ensure better yields and therefore better income for farmers.
4) encouraging improved farmer collective working and farmer co-operatives
As we look to the future, the industry along with our partners including the governments of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana and the US Department of Labour, are committed to a new Framework of Action, to support implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol, signed in 2010. The Framework provides a “roadmap to remediation” that helps guide and refine the development of programmes and interventions to create a measurable reduction in the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
Our common goal – a 70% aggregate reduction in the Worst Forms of Child Labour in the cocoa sectors of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana by 2020 against the baseline identified in 2010 - is ambitious, but achievable - with a resolve and commitment by all partners.
One of the programmes industry is supporting under the Framework of Action is a $2 million industry funded public private partnership (PPP) with ILO-IPEC will support IPEC’s work in three key areas:
1) Implementing a high functioning community-based child labour monitoring system in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire;
2) Strengthening the capacity of governments, social partners and cocoa farmers to combat the worst forms of child labour in cocoa growing communities and to participate in child labour monitoring systems and
3) Enhancing the coordination role of the national child labour steering committees, to improve reporting, and support the development effective National Partners Forums.
“The Harkin-Engel Protocol has been an important catalyst for change and we have made important progress in our collective goal to combat child labour. We understand now, ten years in, that making a difference requires a holistic approach.We remain committed to support government and our global partners in the pursuit of sustainable cocoa farming, helping farmers, families and children achieve a better life,” said Sabine Nafziger.