What we do: Building knowledge to eliminate child labour and promote decent work for youth

The Understanding Children’s Work (UCW) programme is an inter-agency research partnership involving the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF and the World Bank.

Research on the work and the vulnerability of children, adolescents and youthconstitutes the main focus of the UCW Programme. In close collaboration with the UCW partner agencies, other international development institutions, Government counterparts, social partners, national stakeholders and a range of other partners, the Programme produces research helping to improve understanding of child labour and youth employment challenges in their various dimensions.

The UCW programme is guided by the Roadmap for Achieving the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, adopted at The Hague Conference and reiterated at the Brasilia Conference. The Roadmap highlights the urgent need to upscale and accelerate country level actions against child labour in order to succeed in global child labour elimination goals. Policy priorities identified in the Roadmap include adopting and enforcing legislation on child labour, developing and implementing national action plans, providing adequate resources to achieve policy goals, and supporting decent and productive work for adults and youth of working age. In addition, the Roadmap underscores the importance of improved child labour statistics and knowledge to inform policy action.

From research to policy

UCW focuses on research addressing key knowledge gaps and on using this research to inform policies and interventions in fields of child labour, adolescents’ work and youth employment. The statistics and research produced by the Programme also help in monitoring progress towards national and global goals relating to child labour and youth employment, including the targets contained in the Sustainable Development Goals.




Inter-agency configuration

The inter-agency configuration and technical orientation of the UCW programme leave it uniquely placed to act as a platform for research cooperation, policy dialogue, partnership building and knowledge exchange in child labour and related policy areas. The Programme is also well-placed strategically to make use of the different expertise within the three agencies in carrying out or facilitating technical work, which in turn favours the development of shared analyses on child labour, adolescents’ work and youth employment.