Activating the Commonwealth to achieve SDG8.7
The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015. Under target SDG8.7 all Commonwealth states have committed ‘to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, human trafficking, prohibit and eliminate the worst forms of child labour including the use of child soldiers, end modern slavery, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.’ All members are expected to report on their progress, although this is a voluntary mechanism.
CHRI has been leading research and advocacy work on SDG8.7 within the Commonwealth since 2016. At the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) CHRI is releasing a flagship report Creating an effective coalition to achieve SDG 8.7.
Our report outlines the complexity of the abuses contained within SDG8.7: the legacy of colonialism, rapid population growth, poverty, unchecked economic globalisation, conflict, political instability and weakened governance have created a fertile environment for high levels of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking, child labour, and child soldiers. Commonwealth States are forecast to be home to 30.4% of the world’s population by 2050, which will put further strain on limited resources, increasing the number of potential victims. Climate change and the rapid deterioration of ecosystems presents a further challenge to tackling these issues as many Commonwealth States are Small Island Developing States, which makes them particularly vulnerable to the displacement of millions due to rising sea levels and food insecurity resulting from desertification.
We believe that the Commonwealth has the opportunity and responsibility to play an effective leadership role in achieving SDG8.7. The Commonwealth has historically been very effective in providing long-term leadership on an issue, as it showed in its work against Apartheid in South Africa. CHOGM 2018 provides a chance for the Commonwealth to take the lead on SDG8.7 as a convener and catalyst for Member States’ efforts and to position itself as a forum for shared learning on best practice. It is also an opportunity to obtain firm commitments from Member States on SDG8.7 which cuts across all four of CHOGM 2018’s pillars (fairness, sustainability, security and prosperity).
Our report presents 8 recommendations to the Commonwealth and Member States as related to SDG8.7 based on CHRI’s theory of change:
The above recommendations will inform CHRI’s research and advocacy work post-CHOGM 2018. Core initiatives will include:
See CHRI’s report including recommendations for the Commonwealth and its Member States here