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International Conference on Child Labour Oslo, 27-30 October 1997


Press release | 14 October 1997


GENEVA (ILO News) ­ The Government of Norway will convene an International Conference in Oslo, Norway on 27-30 October, to consider the role of development and international cooperation in combating child labour. The Conference is being hosted by the Government, with the participation of the International Labour Office (ILO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The Conference will bring together Ministers of development cooperation, labour, education, social welfare and justice from 40 industrialized and developing countries,1 as well as leaders of trade unions and employers' organizations, non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and other multi-lateral organizations, and leading experts on child labour.

According to new estimates, over 250 million children between the ages of 5 and 14work today around the world ­ in countries rich and poor. Many of them are at risk from hazardous and intolerable forms of labour. Many are denied education and trapped in cycles of poverty. Their most basic rights, their health and even their lives are sometimes placed in jeopardy.

The purpose of the Conference is to contribute to the development of new strategies to eliminate child labour at the national, regional and international levels. The role development cooperation and international cooperation can play in eliminating child labour will be the focus of particular attention.

The Conference will be chaired by the Minister of Development Cooperation, Norway. It will consist of two sessions: a technical session to be held on 27-28 October followed by a political session on 29-30 October, both to be held at the Radisson SAS Scandinavia Hotel in central Oslo.

Following an opening statement by Norway on Monday, 27 October, the participants in the technical session will discuss ways of preventing and eliminating child labour, as well as reintegrating child labourers into society. In particular, the session will focus on practical actions for addressing child labour including legislation, eduction and social mobilization, and examine the role of international cooperation in this process.

On Wednesday, 29 October, the political session of the Conference will open with a statement by the Prime Minister of Norway, followed by key note addresses from Ms.CarolBellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF and Mr. Michel Hansenne, Director-General of the ILO. A ministerial debate will then consider the report of the technical session and hear statements by ministers and heads of delegations. An "Agenda for Action", containing principles and options for action to eliminate child labour, will be submitted for adoption at the close of the Conference at mid-day Thursday, 30 October.

Media Coverage

Journalists wishing to attend the Oslo Conference should register as early as possible with the Section for Press and Information Abroad, Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo, providing their name, address, press card number, fax number, profession (reporter, photographer or technician), and the name(s) of the media they represent. Applications must be received no later than Thursday, 23 October 1997.

The fax number of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs is (+47) 22-24-27-90. Applications may also be forwarded to Norwegian Embassies. A press guide and accreditation form can be down-loaded from the Website of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at and pressacc.html.

Technical background papers, prepared by the ILO and UNICEF, the draft Agenda for Action and any other Conference-related material will go on-line as soon as they are available. Further details are available at the Internet Websites of UNICEF ( and the ILO ().

For the Conference, UNICEF has developed a special Web page called "Children and Work" as part of its larger Website for young people, "Voices of Youth." The Web page provides relevant information in French, English and Spanish on child labour issues including statistics, case studies, photographs and links to other Websites. A prompt and comments box gives young people the opportunity to share their views with representatives of children's organizations, schools and other young participants world wide. (

The ILO site also contains extensive information on child labour in its section organized by the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).

1 Governments of the following countries have been invited to the Conference:

  • Africa: Angola, Benin, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania
  • Asia/Pacific: Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam
  • Americas: Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and the United States
  • Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom