Apia (ILO NEWS) – Samoa’s efforts to eradicate child labour and street vendors in the country continue with the development of the National Workplan for Child Labour and the Launching of Samoa Follow-up Rapid Assessment on Street Vendors. These initiatives aim to ensure compliance with ratified international conventions and to provide children with formal education and early childhood learning benefits.
Samoa, with the technical assistance of the International Labour Organization (ILO), conducted a Situational Analysis of Child Labour in Samoa in 2017. The assessment revealed gaps in legislations, the need for a mechanism for legal proceedings of cases of child labour, and the development of a national workplan framework to strategize each sector, implementing agencies, and assistance required by Samoa with development partners from time to time.
In 2022, Samoa conducted a follow-up survey in partnership with ILO and UNICEF, through the National University of Samoa. Despite progress made, gaps remain, prompting the Samoa Child Labour Taskforce and Samoa National Tripartite Forum to request the development of a workplan to strategize all implementing partners’ efforts. The goal is to achieve zero child labour by 2025 under Alliance 8.7.
Today, March 29th, 2023, the Samoa National Workplan was formulated, taking into consideration, ongoing partner efforts, UN agency programs, priorities established by the Child Labour Taskforce, and recommendations from the Samoa National Tripartite Forum. Additionally, the plan seeks to uncover potential areas where child labour and exploitation may be occurring, including the use of modern technologies. On the same day, the Samoa Rapid Assessment follow-up Survey 2022 was also officially launched. The survey, which was completed in 2022 and recently approved by the Cabinet, aims to identify any changes that may have occurred since the initial assessment.
The consultation was led by Mr. Albert Meredith, the focal point of Alliance 8.7 Pathfinder Country, and Ms. Bharati Pflug, ILO Senior Specialist. Exploring opportunities for development assistance that could support Samoa’s workplan. Additionally, UNICEF, ILO, and other UN agencies will remain available to offer technical assistance upon request from Samoa.
During his opening statement, Mr. Matin Karimli, Director of the ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries, affirmed that ILO would continue to support Samoa in implementing its Child Labour workplan and achieving the Alliance 8.7 goals by 2025. He stressed the significance of a strong commitment and coordination among all stakeholders and the need for a well-coordinated governance structure to define roles and responsibilities.
Afioga Pulotu Chu Ling, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour, expressed his gratitude to the ILO for its unwavering support in all programs related to social protection and promoting decent work in Samoa, not just child labor issues. He emphasized the significance of the national workplan and stressed the need to ensure that the coordination mechanism aligns with the monitoring efforts of the Child Labour Taskforce, which reports to the Samoa National Tripartite Forum. The Forum is responsible for providing policy advice to the Cabinet.