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

As G20 Summit ends, World Vision urges global leaders to to implement concrete measures to achieve inclusive economic growth while eliminating human rights abuses. PHOTO: World Vision
As G20 Summit ends, World Vision urges global leaders to to implement concrete measures to achieve inclusive economic growth while eliminating human rights abuses. PHOTO: World Vision

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 policymakers to implement concrete measures to achieve this.

Tim Costello, World Vision’s chief executive in Australia, 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 policymaker can ignore the risk that greater growth and the unchecked pursuit of profits could exacerbate the injustice of labor exploitation — particularly the exploitation of children,“ said Costello. ”There are 168 million children in the world today who are laboring to the detriment of their health and development. That is one in 10 children over five years of age. 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 percent of global GDP. It can’t fulfill one of its key goals — to improve job prospects for older youth and adults — while watching child labor depress adult wages and prevent tens of millions of children developing to their potential,” Costello said.

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

“We were encouraged by the response of G20 Labor and Employment MinistersExternal Link’ (PDF) group in September to the concerns raised by World Vision,” Costello said. “They made a strong commitment to prioritizing measures to eliminate forced and child labor. “But we know vigilance is required to hold these policymakers to account for genuine progress on important reforms. Further work is required, and the task of the Employment Working Group starts now.”

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 labor exploitation — Creating markets for child-friendly growthExternal Link — provides clear guidance to the G20 on how to detect and address child labor exploitation.”

The G20 Leaders’ Communique recognizes 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 labor throughout the entire value chain, from agricultural production and extractive industries, to the finished product.”

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @WorldVisionNewsExternal Link.

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