RDPP and ILO Iraq launch partnership / Iraq






The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Regional Development and Protection Programme for Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq (RDPP II) have launched a partnership to tackle the worst forms of child labour amongst Syrian refugees, internally displaced persons and vulnerable host community members in Iraq.


Years of conflict, displacement and destruction of infrastructure have increased the vulnerability of children in Iraq to child labour, with around 7% of children between the ages of 5 to 17 engaged in various forms of child labour, including dangerous and exploitative work. The EUR 2,559,175 project targets both children in or at risk of the worst forms of child labour and their families in efforts to increase protection and find sustainable solutions that address the root causes of child labour in the country. It will be implemented by the ILO through close coordination with the government and in partnership with a number of local civil society organisations as well as other UN agencies in Iraq. The project is supported by the European Regional Development Protection Programme (RDPP II) – a joint European initiative by the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union, Ireland and Switzerland. “Our partnership with the ILO aims to support Government institutions and specialized local NGOs to jointly address the drivers of child labour”, stated Vincenzo Schiano Lomoriello, RDPP Project Manager. “This approach encourages the engagement of partners in both piloting local solutions to curb child labour more efficiently, and in designing strategies to ensure the policy framework further protect children”


The ILO and national partners will work closely to pilot a Child Labour Monitoring System to identify vulnerable children at risk of or already in child labour and refer them to the relevant actors to receive the needed support.

They will also ensure that vulnerable children have access to tailored formal and non-formal education. This will include the ILO’s SCREAM (Supporting Children's Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media) programme, which helps educators worldwide promote understanding and awareness of child labour among young people. Guardians and older siblings above the minimum age of employment will be supported to access employment services, livelihoods opportunities and informal apprenticeships to support their resilience and avoid resorting to negative coping mechanisms.


“Child Labour is a longstanding issue in Iraq for a number of reasons, including conflict and poverty,” said Maha Kattaa, ILO Iraq Country Coordinator. “An effective child labour monitoring system is critical to facilitate the identification, withdrawal, referral and rehabilitation of vulnerable children through coordinated efforts with all partners involved. We are pleased to be working with RDPP on ensuring that such a system is in place, in addition to other interventions which will enhance our efforts to combat child labour in the country.”


On the policy level, a National Action Plan Against Child Labour will be developed in close consultation with tripartite constituents, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, to ensure better protection for vulnerable children and families from the worst forms of child labour.

Iraq has ratified all key international conventions on child labour, namely the ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138), the ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) and the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child, which are central to the fight against child labour.


In December 2019, the ILO signed and launched a new Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) in Iraq in partnership with the Government and social partners for the period 2019-2023. Under the programme, the ILO is working with government, worker and employer organizations to support national initiatives on employment promotion, rights at work, social dialogue and social protection, including developing an effective framework to address child labour.


RDPP II is a joint European initiative running until 2021. The Programme is supported by the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union, Ireland and Switzerland. Since 2018, RDPP II supports five partnerships in Iraq with more than 10 million Euros, with the commitment of building partner capacities and developing local institutions for a more effective and sustainable response