Today sees the launch of the Clear Cotton project, which seeks to contribute to efforts to eradicate child labour and forced labour from the cotton, textile and garment sectors. It is co-funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Labour Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization. The launch date has been chosen to coincide with Universal Children's Day.
Commissioner Mimica welcomed the project. “Today, on Universal Children’s Day, we are reminded that every child should have the chance to go to school, spend time with their families and friends and enjoy their childhood. And yet millions of children around the world spend their days working against their will. And millions more adults are being forced to work in terrible conditions. Through the Clear Cotton project, the EU and its partners are saying clearly that this must stop.”
Cotton is one of the world’s most widely grown crops, but its production often involves poor working conditions. The Clear Cotton project’s approach is comprehensive: it covers various angles – from policy-making to training – along the entire value chain. It will operate in two big cotton-producing countries in Africa: Burkina Faso and Mali. And in Pakistan it will target the cotton, textile and garment industries.
Today’s event will bring together representatives from international organisations, governments, social partners, civil society, business, consumers, academia and media involved in sustainable cotton and garment production.