Meeting the G20’s growth target: not at the expense of children

Achieving an extra 2 percentage points of global growth must not come at the expense of children and the poor, World Vision said today.

As G20 leaders made a welcome commitment to ‘inclusive growth’, as well as reducing poverty and inequality, the international aid and development agency urged policy-makers to implement concrete measures to achieve this.

World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello said the important goal of boosting job opportunities must be accompanied by steps to eliminate human rights abuses occurring throughout global supply chains.

“No politician or policy-maker can ignore the risk that greater growth and the unchecked pursuit of profits could exacerbate the injustice of labour exploitation – particularly the exploitation of children.

“There are 168 million children in the world today who are labouring to the detriment of their health and development. That is one in 10 children over five years of age,” Mr Costello said. “This scourge is a drag on economic growth.”

World Vision welcomed the establishment of a high-level Employment Working Group to pursue the creation of quality jobs via measures including addressing the challenges of informal work.

“The G20 represents more than 80 per cent of global GDP.   It can’t fulfil one of its key goals – to improve job prospects for older youth and adults – while watching child labour depress adult wages and prevent tens of millions of children developing to their potential,” Mr Costello said.

World Vision has worked through G20 processes this year to present the labour and employment ministers of the world’s 20 largest economies with a roadmap for detecting and addressing child labour in global supply chains.

“We were encouraged by the response of G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ group in September to the concerns raised by World Vision,” Mr Costello said. “They made a strong commitment to prioritising measures to eliminate forced and child labour.

“But we know vigilance is required to hold these policy-makers to account for genuine progress on important reforms. Further work is required, and the task of the Employment Working Group starts now.”

Mr Costello – who is also chair of the official civil society G20 engagement group, the C20 – said one of the key levers available to the leaders of the world’s largest economies was their governments’ massive purchasing power.

“World Vision’s report on child labour exploitation – Creating markets for child-friendly growth – provides clear guidance to the G20 on how to detect and address child labour exploitation.”

The G20 Leaders’ Communique recognises the growth opportunities presented by global value chains, in particular for developing countries.

“These opportunities should not be exploited without strong protections in place to detect, address and monitor the existence of child labour throughout the entire value chain, from agricultural production and extractive industries, to the finished product.”

Media contact: Kris Gough – 0481 005 468 /

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