WHR Group, Inc. Named a Top Workplace for the Ninth Consecutive Year

MILWAUKEE, Wis., May 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — For the ninth consecutive year, WHR Group, Inc. (WHR) was named a Top Workplace by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Top Workplaces surveys employee engagement and satisfaction at companies throughout the US. Awards are given to companies in different regions including the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, Rocky Mountains and the Pacific. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, WHR was awarded a Top Workplace in the Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin region.

Top Workplace awards are based solely on the results of employee survey feedback administered by Energage, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. What makes this award so special, and humbling is that WHR's employees provided the survey feedback.

WHR Employees and Culture
WHR believes it's critical to focus on culture in the workplace. As a relocation management company, WHR helps other organizations attract and retain the best talent, which it couldn't do without finding and retaining the best talent internally.

According to WHR Human Resources Manager, Kimberley Uitz, SHRM–CP, GPHR, "Top Workplaces is an important recognition to any employer, employee or potential employee. In the past few years, this has become more critical, and in some ways harder to obtain. WHR is honored to have earned Top Workplace in 2022 and for our ninth consecutive year. We hope to continue expanding and growing our fantastic employee base."

WHR wants its employees to enjoy coming into the office, be engaged, be proud of the work they do and grow their careers for success. You can't have great culture without great people. WHR Group takes the feedback it receives from its employees and acts on it. WHR's passion has always been Advancing Lives Forward and WHR embodies this passion for its client's transferees and its employees.

WHR is proud of this nine–time recognition and its very talented employees.

About WHR Group, Inc.
WHR is a private global employee relocation management company distinguished by its white–glove service delivery structure and proprietary technology. WHR has offices in Wisconsin, Switzerland, and Singapore. With its 100% client retention rate for the past decade, WHR continues to be the trusted leader in global employee relocation. https://www.whrg.com, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Media Contact: Mindy Stroiman, Corporate Writer
Mindy.Stroiman@whrg.com
262–523–7510


Africa Expected to Strongly Support Durban Call to Action on Child Labour

African Union Commission Department of Trade and Industry, head of industry Houssein Guedi highlighted how 92,2 million of the world's children entrapped in child labour live in Africa, at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban. Credit: Lyse Comins/IPS

African Union Commission Department of Trade and Industry, head of industry Houssein Guedi highlighted how 92,2 million of the world’s children entrapped in child labour live in Africa, at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban. Credit: Lyse Comins/IPS

By Lyse Comins
Durban, May 17 2022 – Global goals to eradicate child labour will not be achieved without a breakthrough in Africa, where most of the world’s 160 million children entrapped in child labour work in rural regions, mostly in agriculture with their families.

This is why the “Durban Call to Action” to eradicate child labour, spearheaded by the African Union (AU), the International Labour Organization (ILO), civil society organisations and other world leaders, is crucial and must be implemented by the countries on the continent.

Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa of ILO Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon told delegates that the draft “Durban Call to Action”, expected to be finalised and formally adopted in the city on Friday, recognised the need to drive change in the world. She was speaking during a high-level panel discussion at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban.

Samuel-Olonjuwon concentrated on continental-specific challenges, policy priorities and strategic partnerships to end child labour in Africa.

Samuel-Olonjuwon said the ILO had already supported the adoption and implementation of the African Union Ten Year Action Plan on Eradication of Child Labour, Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in Africa (2020-2030), which was the first plan of its kind in the world.

She said stakeholders engaged in the drive to eliminate child labour had developed the foundation of the draft “Durban Call to Action” when they met in Johannesburg to prepare for the conference in November 2021.

“The ILO will support the implementation of the Durban Call to Action in line with ILO conventions and the AU action plan on child labour,” Samuel-Olonjuwon said.

She said efforts needed to be coordinated across regions to be effective.

“Africa has shown that it is ready to drive the change to accelerate action to end child labour. We recognise there is still a long way to go, but we also know the commitment, understanding and the resolve to take action now, is widely shared. The need to act with urgency, especially for making progress on an annual basis, is also widely shared. We must coordinate our efforts, especially with those of us who are development partners, in close collaboration with the private sector, civil society and we as social partners and agencies,” she said.

African Union Commission Department of Trade and Industry, head of industry Houssein Guedi, highlighted the current status quo of child labour on the continent and the foundational points of the draft Durban Call to Action plan.

He said 92,2 million of the world’s 160 million children entrapped in child labour live in Africa. This equates to  21,6% of the continent’s 400 million child population. Most of the children in child labour live in Eastern Africa (29,8%), Western Africa (22,8%), Central Africa (19,3%), Southern Africa (16,7%) and Northern Africa (6,1%).

“Most child labourers are very young – almost 60% are less than 12 years of age. Child labour is more prevalent among boys than girls. Child labour is predominantly a rural and agricultural phenomenon (81% of children in child labour),” Guedi said.

Some 45% of children in child labour are engaged in hazardous work. About 72% of children were combining school with work, although 32,2 million children of primary school-going age are not in school, despite a substantial improvement in access to education between 1990 and 2019.

Guedi said child labour often occurred in correlation with broader development challenges, such as in countries with high levels of informal employment, where populations received at least one social benefit, and a large percentage of the population is living below the poverty line.

He said there was now “unprecedented awareness, commitment and political will”, shown by a high level of ratifications on the continent and the implementation of policies and legislation to end child labour in recent years.

“We’ve seen some good practices emerging which could inspire Africa and the rest of the world,” Guedi said.

However, he added that there were still gaps in legislation, a lack of data for planning and weak enforcement, particularly in the agricultural sector and informal economy where child labour prevails.

“In Johannesburg, we discussed the importance of taking into account the salient features of child labour on the continent – young, rural, agriculture, family work, hazardous work, out of school/combining school and work – and key development challenges underlying child labour,” Guedi said.

He said stakeholders had agreed to actions which would form the basis of the Durban Call to Action.

These included the need to:

  • Focus on prevention and the root causes
  • Achieve impact at scale through adequately financing public policies and programmes
  • Focus on the most immediate major challenges and most actionable in terms of time frames for achieving results
  • Accelerate action to ensure quality universal education for all boys and girls
  • Expand social protection for workers in the informal economy and the agricultural sector
  • Secure decent work for adults
  • Focus on the school to work transition
  • Fill gaps in legislation for effective action against child labour, especially the worst forms
  • Take large scale action in agriculture and rural development
  • Develop measures to deal with child labour in conflict and crises
  • Increase financing for child labour activities
  • Mobilise political and social support to build momentum for accelerated action
  • Improve the availability of quality child labour data and research

Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) assistant director-general and Africa representative Abebe Haile Gabriel said the continent needed to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security, which had affected the most vulnerable families. He said the continent needed to promote mechanised agriculture to reduce reliance on children, expand social security to improve farmers’ resilience and provide free access to relevant education.

Ugandan Minister for Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Amongi Betty Ongom, said the pandemic had led to parents losing their jobs when economic sectors went into lockdown, many children had lost two years of schooling, and some had not returned due to a lack of affordability when schools eventually reopened.

African Union Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining, Albert Mudenda Muchangam, said child labour “destroyed the future of our children”.

“You find child labour in mining and in households – some are paid, but lowly paid, and others are completely unpaid, which is modern-day slavery. We have a test, each one of us, to ensure we end the scourge of child labour,”  Muchangam said.

“We have an obligation to eradicate child labour and to bring them up and give them the opportunity to learn and to play with their friends so they should grow up as decent human beings. The persistence of child labour undermines that, and it also contributes to destroying their lives. Let us join forces together to fight the scourge of child labour wherever we see it,” Muchangam said.

This is one of a series of stories that IPS will publish during the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban, South Africa.

IPS UN Bureau Report

 


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Dominica uplifting education sector, three new primary schools commissioned

Roseau, May 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The government of Dominica commissioned three primary schools over the weekend. The Morne Jaune Primary School, Stevens Primary School, and Wills Strathmore Stevens Primary were reopened and now possess modern education technology, climate–resilient infrastructure, and an advanced learning environment.

The reconstruction and rehabilitation of these schools are done as part of the government's Climate Resilience and Restoration Project. The schools now have classroom blocks equipped with modern learning techniques, including an auditorium, computer lab, library, kitchen, cafeteria, guidance & counselling room, and washroom facilities.

The government of Dominica is paying keen attention to developing a climate–resilient infrastructure as it works towards becoming the “world's first climate–resilient nation”. The government vowed to create resilient school infrastructure following Hurricane Maria in 2017. The natural disaster destroyed around 90 percent of the country's infrastructure, devastating livelihoods.

The projects have been completed with assistance from the government of Canada through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) as part of the Dominica Climate Resilience and Restoration Project.

Prime Minister of Dominica, Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit stated that the government continues to invest in the education sector as students are the country's future.

Octavia Alfred– Dominica's Minister of Education, Human Resource, Planning, Vocational Training, and National Excellence, stated that these newly structured schools represent new opportunities for students. She referred to the government's efforts to transform the education sector as a “new philosophy of schooling”.

Besides this, the prestigious Dominica Grammar School is also undergoing a facelift, and the renovation is expected to be complete by 2024. Established in 1893, one of the oldest educational establishments on the island.

Dominica's government continues to prioritise education, which has attracted foreign investors wanting to invest in their own and their children's futures.

However, the government of Dominica has also been focusing on keeping the beauty of the Caribbean country intact under the Dominica Climate Resilience and Restoration Project. The country is moving on the roadmap to becoming the world's first–ever climate–resilient country at a perfect pace.

The projects carried out by the nation have been constructed by keeping the environment in mind.

The government of Dominica has been working to build a climate–resilient country since 2018 after the country was hit by a category 5 hurricane "" Hurricane Maria. The Caribbean country commenced its recovery journey by establishing the National Resilience Development Strategy 2030. The main objective of the strategy is to examine the overall policy framework of the government. It also underscores 43 resilience goals.

Later, the government formed Climate Resilience and Recovery Plan (CRRP). It was developed under the leadership of the Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD), a mandate under the Climate Resilience Act 2018.

The government of Dominica has planned to achieve the Climate Resilience Targets by 2030.

The Caribbean country has been witnessing many projects focusing on climate resilience. These projects include – the construction of a geothermal power plant and an International Airport, as well as the rehabilitation of houses and schools. Dominica's government continues to prioritise education, which has attracted foreign investors wanting to invest in their own and their children's futures.

The majority of the projects are either fully or partially funded by the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI).

The CBI Programme of Dominica was established in 1993 and is known as one of the fastest, longest–running CBI programmes worldwide. Interested investors can apply for the alternative citizenship of Dominica by making a financial contribution to a government–authorised fund and real estate.

The investment can be made by donating towards development projects in both private as well as public sectors, or the investor may also invest in government–approved real estate.

  • Economic Diversity Fund (EDF) "" An individual can invest in the development of the country through the EDF. The funds generated through this medium are utilised in constructing schools, hospitals, and homes and uplifting the sectors like tourism as well as agriculture.
  • Real Estate Investment "" The investor may also apply for the alternative citizenship of Dominica by investing in government–approved real estate "" hotels, spas, and villas.

The Citizenship by Investment Programme of Dominica has been ranked as the world's fastest, most secure, and transparent by the Financial Times' Professional Wealth Management magazine in the CBI Index.

The CBI Programme of Dominica bagged a perfect score for the due–diligence background checks. The procedure is strict, multi–layered, and robust to make sure that the citizenship is attained by the reputed as well as honest investor.


Child Labour: No Quick End to Children Trapped in Tobacco Production

Children working on tobacco farms in Chipangali District in Eastern Province of Zambia. Credit: Brenda Chitindi

 
       “Most major tobacco producing countries use child labour in tobacco growing. Almost no cigarette can be
         guaranteed to be free from child labour.”
                                        British Medical Journal, 2015.

By Judith Mackay and Leonce Dieudonne Leonce
HONG KONG / LOME, May 17 2022 – Despite World Day Against Child Labour launched in 2002 by the International Labour Organization (ILO), little has changed over the past two decades for the millions of children who remain trapped.

To rescue children and achieve sustainable human and health rights improvements, laws that make corporations accountable and change power relations between workers and companies are needed, rather than voluntary industry codes and corporate charity.

The global tobacco industry, valued at 850B USD (2021) with the 6 largest companies earning 55 B USD in profit (2015), is profiting off the backs of an estimated 1.3 million children involved in tobacco production worldwide.

For many farming households in low-income countries, growing tobacco offers only a precarious livelihood, overshadowed by debt and the threat of poverty, in stark contrast to the profits of the big tobacco companies. Many smallholder farmers – who produce much of the world’s tobacco leaf – feel they have little choice but to enlist their children to work.

According to the global tobacco industry watch, STOP, tobacco companies have the power and resources to determine the level of wages and price of agricultural inputs, and can control the salaries that suppliers or contractors pay. However, their practices worsen children’s plight. They use layers of contracts to avoid direct responsibility for growers and workers, keep leaf prices low, and provide loans that keep farmers dependent.

To obscure the real problem, they use agricultural front groups, and partnerships with renowned organizations to undertake token community activities. All these effectively suppress progress towards diversification of strategies that would remove children from tobacco farming.

According to STOP, the first step to eliminating child labor in tobacco is to expose and remove tobacco industry interference.

Child labor in tobacco falls under “worst forms of child labor” due to the hazardous nature of handling tobacco. This mainly occurs in the tobacco fields and bidi factories, but can also occur throughout the whole tobacco cycle, for example, children selling cigarettes.

Children working with tobacco are placed at high risk of injury and illness, for example ‘Green Tobacco Sickness’ caused by nicotine poisoning through the skin. The absorption of nicotine causes symptoms which include nausea, weakness, dizziness, headaches and breathing difficulties. They are also exposed to large and frequent applications of pesticides, herbicides and fumigants that leads to a range of risks.

Child tobacco workers often labor 50 or 60 hours a week in extreme heat, use sharp and dangerous tools, lift heavy loads, and climb into the rafters of barns, risking serious injuries and falls.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 28% of children working in agriculture in general do not attend school at all, a blow to their best chance of avoiding the generational poverty trap.

Children’s voices drowned

Tobacco leaf is grown in more than 120 countries, but the incidence of child labor is under reported. In 2020, the US Department of Labor listed 19 countries which use child and forced labour in tobacco production is present.

Among them is Malawi from which tobacco imports to US were temporarily disallowed when Malawi children sued British American Tobacco (BAT) and Imperial Brands, seeking compensation for damages arising from child labor.

Meanwhile, tobacco industry corporate social responsibility (CSR) obscures the plight of children in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). Tobacco industry-backed publicity includes information of how 204,000 children were removed or kept away from child labor detracting from the legal and human rights of children exploited or the just compensation required to undo decades of harm.

Some governments have yet to resist so-called CSR of tobacco companies and realize that the tobacco industry is the problem and not partners in the elimination of child labor. The global treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) recommends the adoption of farmer and worker-driven policies towards diversification that are sustainably financed and protected from tobacco industry interference.

Tobacco tax increases can potentially finance diversification programs, but advocates must struggle against the dilution of political will, brought on by token donations from the tobacco industry. According to the treaty, governments should ban and denormalize so-called CSR of the tobacco industry, as practiced in over 40 countries.

The Tobacco Industry’s Global Candy

The Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing (ECLT) Foundation, sponsored by big tobacco companies influence the anti-child labor narrative across the world. Through the ECLT, tobacco companies partnered with and funded the ILO and governments to position themselves as safeguarding the rights of child worker and “being part of the solution”.

While ECLT achieved little in reducing child labor, it added to the glossy sustainability reports of tobacco companies designed to attract more investors.

After coming to the conclusion that tobacco industry sponsorship has not led to much progress in eliminating child labor, in 2018 ILO announced it will not renew ECLT and tobacco industry funding. However, links between the ILO and the ECLT remains.

While the United Nations Global Compact delisted tobacco companies from its program, the ECLT remains in the program despite civil society protests that the UNGC participation is a violation of the compact’s policies, the Model Policy for Agencies of the UN System on Preventing Tobacco Industry Interference and WHO FCTC.

The ILO Decent Work Agenda and various Conventions are instruments to facilitate prohibition of forced or compulsory labor. But if these are not implemented, our children are betrayed and remain entrapped.

Footnote: The ILO’s 5th Global Child Labour Conference is taking place in Durban, South Africa, May 15-20.

Prof Judith Mackay is Asian is the Director of the Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control, Hong Kong, and Leonce Dieudonné Sessou is Executive Secretary of the African Tobacco Control Alliance, Togo

IPS UN Bureau

 


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When Saviours Are the Problem

By Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram
SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 2022 – Central bank policies have often worsened economic crises instead of resolving them. By raising interest rates in response to inflation, they often exacerbate, rather than mitigate business cycles and inflation.

Neither gods nor maestros
US Federal Reserve Bank chair Jerome Powell has admitted: “Whether we can execute a soft landing or not, it may actually depend on factors that we don’t control.” He conceded, “What we can control is demand, we can’t really affect supply with our policies. And supply is a big part of the story here”.

Anis Chowdhury

Hence, decisionmakers must consider more appropriate policy tools. Rejecting ‘one size fits all’ formulas, including simply raising interest rates, anti-inflationary measures should be designed as appropriate. Instead of squelching demand by raising interest rates, supply could be enhanced.

Thus, Milton Friedman – whom many central bankers still worship – blamed the 1930s’ Great Depression on the US Fed. Instead of providing liquidity support to businesses struggling with short-term cash-flow problems, it squeezed credit, crushing economic activity.

Similarly, before becoming Fed chair, Ben Bernanke’s research team concluded, “an important part of the effect of oil price shocks [in the 1970s] on the economy results not from the change in oil prices, per se, but from the resulting tightening of monetary policy”.

Adverse impacts of the 1970s’ oil price shocks were worsened by the reactions of monetary policymakers, which caused stagflation. That is, US Fed and other central bank interventions caused economic stagnation without mitigating inflation.

Likewise, the longest US recession after the Great Depression, during the 1980s, was due to interest rate hikes by Fed chair Paul Volcker. A recent New York Times op-ed warned, “The Powell pivot to tighter money in 2021 is the equivalent of Mr. Volcker’s 1981 move” and “the 2020s economy could resemble the 1980s”.

Monetary policy for supply shocks?
Food prices surged in 2011 due to weather-related events ruining harvests in major food producing nations, such as Australia and Russia. Meanwhile, fuel prices soared with political turmoil in the Middle East.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram

However, Boston Fed head Eric Rosengren argued, “tightening monetary policy solely in response to contractionary supply shocks would likely make the impact of the shocks worse for households and businesses”.

Referring to Boston Fed research, he noted commodity price changes did not affect the long-run inflation rate. Other research has also concluded that commodity price shocks are less likely to be inflationary.

This reduced inflationary impact has been attributed to ‘structural changes’ such as workers’ diminished bargaining power due to labour market deregulation, technological innovation and globalization.

Hence, central banks are no longer expected to respond strongly to food and fuel price increases. Policymakers should not respond aggressively to supply shocks – often symptomatic of broader macroeconomic developments.

Instead, central banks should identify the deeper causes of food and fuel price rises, only responding appropriately to them. Wrong policy responses can compound, rather than mitigate problems.

Appropriate innovations
A former Philippines central bank Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr noted it had not responded strongly to higher food and fuel prices in 2004. He stressed, “authorities should ignore changes in the price of things that they cannot control”.

Tetangco warned, “the required policy response is not… straightforward… Thus policy makers will need to make a choice between bringing down inflation and raising output growth”. He emphasized, “a real sector supply side response may be more appropriate in addressing the pressure on prices”.

Thus, instead of restricting credit indiscriminately, financing constraints on desired industries (e.g., renewable energy) should be eased. Enterprises deemed inefficient or undesirable – e.g., polluters or those engaged in speculation – should have less access to the limited financing available.

This requires designing macroeconomic policies to enable dynamic new investments, technologies and economic diversification. Instead of reacting with blunt interest rate policy tools, policymakers should know how fiscal and monetary policy tools interact and impact various economic activities.

Used well, these can unlock supply bottlenecks, promote desired investments and enhance productivity. As no one size fits all, each policy objective will need appropriate, customized, often innovative tools.

Lessons from China
China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), developed “structural monetary policy” tools and new lending programmes to help victims of COVID-19. These ensured ample interbank liquidity, supported credit growth, and strengthened domestic supply chains.

Outstanding loans to small and micro businesses rose 25% to 20.8 trillion renminbi by March 2022 from a year before. By January, the interest rate for loans to over 48 million small and medium enterprises had dropped to 4.5%, the lowest level since 1978.

The PBOC has also provided banks with loan funds for promising, innovative and creditworthy companies, e.g., involved in renewable energy and digital technologies. It thus achieves three goals: fostering growth, maintaining debt at sustainable levels, and ‘green transformation’.

Defying global trends, China’s ‘factory-gate’ (or producer price) inflation fell to a one-year low in April 2022 as the PBOC eased supply chains and stabilized commodity prices. Although consumer prices have risen with COVID-19 lockdowns, the increases have remained relatively benign so far.

In short, the PBOC has coordinated monetary policy with both fiscal and industrial policies to boost confidence, promote desired investments and achieve stable growth. It maintains financial stability and policy independence by regulating capital flows, thus avoiding sudden outflows, and interest rate hikes in response.

Improving policy coordination
Central bankers monitor aggregate indicators, such as wages growth. However, before reacting to upward wage movements, the context needs to be considered. For example, wages may have stagnated, or the labour share of income may have declined over the long-term.

Moreover, wage increases may be needed for critical sectors facing shortages to attract workers with relevant skills. Wage growth itself may not be the problem. The issue may be weak long-term productivity growth due to deficient investments.

Input-output tables can provide information about sectoral bottlenecks and productivity, while flow-of-funds information reveals what sectors are financially constrained, and which are net savers or debtors.

Such information can helpfully guide design of appropriate, complementary fiscal and monetary policy tools. Undoubtedly, pursuing heterodox policies is challenging in the face of policy fetters imposed by current orthodoxies.

Central bank independence – with dogmatic mandates for inflation targeting and capital account liberalization – precludes better coordination, e.g., between fiscal and monetary authorities. It also undercuts the policy space needed to address both demand- and supply-side inflation.

Monetary authorities are under tremendous pressure to be seen to be responding to rising prices. But experience reminds us they can easily make things worse by acting inappropriately. The answer is not greater central bank independence, but rather, improved economic policy coordination.

IPS UN Bureau

 


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Call to Invest ‘Serious Resources’ in Education, to Stem Tide of Child Labour

Significant investments from the international community will be needed to get free quality education for every child. Credit: Cecilia Russell/IPS

Significant investments from the international community will be needed to get free quality education for every child. Credit: Cecilia Russell/IPS

By Cecilia Russell
Durban, May 17 2022 – “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to eliminate child labour.” So said Dennis Sinyolo, Director of Education International’s African Regional Office in Accra, Ghana adapting liberation icon and late South African president Nelson Mandela’s famous quote about how education can change the world.

Sinyolo was participating in a themed discussion on education at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour.

The panellists agreed that the investment in teachers was also crucial to ending child labour.

Sinyolo noted that teachers are the ones who identify those out of school, raise awareness about schooling and mobilise to get them into school.

Cornelius Williams, Director Child Protection for UNICEF, noted that a worrying trend in increased child labour has developed in the two years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1.5 million learners were affected by school closures.

“This has been a huge setback against education and also a setback in child labour,” said Williams.

He said that 16.8 m more children in the age group from 5 to 11 were working, which was expected to rise. One-third of these were out of school, and for every child out of school – another balances work and school.

The role of teachers was also highlighted by Malawi’s Education Minister, Agnes NyaLonje.

In her country, two million children are in child labour.

She called on the “global education community to mobilise serious resources” as developing countries, with a large population of school-going children, struggled to pay for infrastructure and provide free quality education for at least 12 years.

“Funding is inadequate,” NyaLonje said. “The situation of Malawi, I think is a case in point, population increases at 3% a year and the majority of the young population, which is over three-quarters of the population, in the country is (aged) zero to 15 which are the clients of education.”

She said for developing countries like Malawi, there was never enough money to adequately fund both infrastructure and education.

“No matter how much we try to put aside part of budgets, it is never enough.”

During discussions this week Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi estimated it would take 22 billion US dollars per year to ensure education for all children. He said he would engage the leaders of the G7 to ensure that child labour and issues of education were at the forefront of the world’s political agenda.

NyaLonje said teachers need support. She told a story about the saddest thing she experienced after the country was devastated by Cyclone Ana. She had told teachers that they needed to go back to work within days of the cyclone, despite the impact on infrastructure.

However, the impact of her instruction was brought home by the plight of a disabled teacher, who was saved during the cyclone by being carried out of the house by his daughters. Now homeless and disabled, he was expected to prepare to return to teaching.

The impact of natural disasters was also apparent in Durban, where the conference is being held. Apart from already being behind with schools and infrastructure development due to historical apartheid-driven lack of development, Kwazi Mshengu MEC Education, Kwa-Zulu Natal, told the conference that the recent floods, where about 500 people lost their lives, also had wrecked schooling infrastructure.

Mshengu said that because of historical injustices, the disadvantaged settled wherever they could find land close to economic opportunities. The floods affected 630 schools were affected with 101 schools completely inaccessible.

“We are also sitting with learners with no families and homes and sheltering in community halls … their parents were swept away in the floods. We need to join hands to ensure that they don’t have to turn to forced labour in order to feed themselves,” Mshengu said.

All the delegates had strong words to add to the Durban Call to Action, which will be released on Friday when the conference closes.

Dawit David Moges Alemu of the Ethiopian Federation of Employers said it was important for leaders to stick to their commitments.

Sinyolo advised that closing the gap between policy and practice was crucial.

“Education should be free and genuinely free,” he said at least for the first 12 years. He called for support and investments in teachers and ensured their remuneration was fair.

Mshengu called for a system that engenders a value system that “loves their kids” and puts the children at the centre of the system.

Nguyen Thi Ha, Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Viet Nam called for enhanced quality vocational training.

NyaLonje reiterated her call for serious resources to be found for education but crucially too called for an investment in teachers, because sustainable development begins with education.

IPS UN Bureau Report

This is one of a series of stories that IPS will publish during the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban, South Africa.


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Floods Drive Urban Solutions in Brazilian Metropolis

Pollution from urban sewage is visible in the Onça (jaguar, in Portuguese) River, near its mouth, seen here from the entrance bridge in the Ribeiro de Abreu neighborhood that suffers frequent flooding when it rains heavily in Belo Horizonte, capital of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, in southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Pollution from urban sewage is visible in the Onça (jaguar, in Portuguese) River, near its mouth, seen here from the entrance bridge in the Ribeiro de Abreu neighborhood that suffers frequent flooding when it rains heavily in Belo Horizonte, capital of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, in southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

By Mario Osava
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, May 17 2022 – “We do everything through parties, we don’t want power, we don’t want to take over the role of the State, but we don’t just protest and complain,” said Itamar de Paula Santos, a member of the United Community Council for Ribeiro de Abreu (Comupra), in this southeastern Brazilian city.

Ribeiro de Abreu is one of the neighborhoods most affected by recurrent flooding in Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais, as it is located on the right bank of the Onça (jaguar, in Portuguese) River, on the lower stretch, into which the water drains from a 212 square kilometer basin made up of numerous streams.

Cleaning up the river and preventing its waters from continuing to flood homes requires actions that also produce social benefits.

“We have so far removed 736 families who were living in high-risk situations, on the riverbank,” Santos told IPS in the same place where precarious and frequently flooded shacks gave way to the Community Riverside Park (Parque Ciliar, in Portuguese), which has a garden, soccer field, children’s playground and fruit trees.

The project, begun by local residents together with Comupra and the local government in 2015 and gradually implemented since then, aims to extend the community park 5.5 kilometers upstream through several neighborhoods by 2025.

This includes doubling the number of families resettled, cleaning up the Onça basin and its nine beaches, three islands and three waterfalls, preserving nature and developing urban agriculture, and creating areas for sports and cultural activities. All with participatory management and execution.

Itamar de Paula Santos, an activist with the United Community Council for Ribeiro de Abreu, longs to go back to swimming and fishing in the Onça River, as he did in his childhood. But its waters, polluted by urban waste, often flood the riverside neighborhoods in the rainy season as the river flows through the city of Belo Horizonte, in southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Itamar de Paula Santos, an activist with the United Community Council for Ribeiro de Abreu, longs to go back to swimming and fishing in the Onça River, as he did in his childhood. But its waters, polluted by urban waste, often flood the riverside neighborhoods in the rainy season as the river flows through the city of Belo Horizonte, in southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Displaced within the same neighborhood

The families removed from the flood-prone riverbank now live mostly in safe housing in the same Ribeiro de Abreu neighborhood, which had 16,000 inhabitants at the 2010 census, but is now estimated to be home to 20,000 people.

The Belo Horizonte city government has a rule to resettle families from risky areas in places no more than three kilometers from where they used to live, Ricardo Aroeira, director of Water Management of the Municipal Secretariat of Works and Infrastructure, told IPS.

That is the case of Dirce Santana Soares, 55, who now lives with her son, her mother and four other family members in a five-bedroom house, with a yard where she grows a variety of fruit trees and vegetables.

“It’s the best thing that could have happened to us,” she said. Five years ago she lived next to the river, which flooded her shack, almost always in the wee hours of the morning, every year during the rainiest months in Belo Horizonte – December and January.

“We had bunk beds and we piled everything we wanted to save on top of them. Then we built a second floor on the house, leaving the first floor to the mud,” she told IPS. “But I didn’t want to leave the neighborhood where I had been living for 34 years.”

She was lucky. After receiving the compensation for leaving her riverside shack, an acquaintance sold her their current home, at a low price, with long-term interest-free installments.

View of a beach on the Onça River, which the movement for clean rivers wants to recuperate as a recreational area for the local population in the city of Belo Horizonte, in southeastern Brazil. At this spot, the Onça River receives the waters of the Isidoro stream. There are another eight beaches to be restored as well. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

View of a beach on the Onça River, which the movement for clean rivers wants to recuperate as a recreational area for the local population in the city of Belo Horizonte, in southeastern Brazil. At this spot, the Onça River receives the waters of the Isidoro stream. There are another eight beaches to be restored as well. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Bad luck

Soares, who is now a domestic worker, had a daycare center that started losing money in the face of the increased offer of free nursery schools by the local government, and the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years.

Itamar Santos, a 64-year-old father of three, has also lived in the neighborhood for almost four decades. Before that, he worked as a mechanical lathe operator in other cities and for three years in Carajás, the large iron ore mine in the eastern Amazon, 1,600 km north of Belo Horizonte.

In 1983, in Carajás, he lost his right leg when he fell into a 12-meter well. “It was night-time, and there was no electricity, just dark jungle,” he explained. After the first painful impact, he learned to live with his disability and regained the joy of living, with a specially adapted car.

He became an activist and among his achievements were free bus tickets for paraplegics and a gymnasium for multiple sports. “Creating conditions that enable the disabled to leave their homes is therapeutic,” he told IPS.

View of a community garden that local residents in the Ribeiro de Abreu neighborhood cultivate on the banks of the Onça River. Some 140 families who suffered annual flooding were resettled and now live in safe housing in the same part of Belo Horizonte, a metropolis in southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

View of a community garden that local residents in the Ribeiro de Abreu neighborhood cultivate on the banks of the Onça River. Some 140 families who suffered annual flooding were resettled and now live in safe housing in the same part of Belo Horizonte, a metropolis in southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

But the cause that impassions him today is the river, which in January has a heavy flow due to the heavy rains that month, but dries up in September, in the dry season.

“Let the Onça drink clean water” is the slogan of a movement also promoted by Santos, to emphasize the protection and recovery of the thousands of springs that supply the river and its tributary streams.

Every year since 2008, this movement, driven by Comupra, organizes meetings for reflection and debate on the revitalization of the river in riverside venues in different neighborhoods in the basin.

The festivities are also repeated annually, or more often. Carnival brings joy to the local population on the beaches or squares along the banks of the Onça River, and giant Christmas trees are set up for the communities to come out and celebrate the holidays.

The basin, or more precisely sub-basin, of the Onça River comprises the northern half of the territory and the population of Belo Horizonte, which totals 2.5 million inhabitants. The south, which is richer, is where the Arrudas River is located.

Both emerge in the neighboring municipality to the west, Contagem, and flow east into the Das Velhas River, the main source of water for the six million inhabitants of Greater Belo Horizonte. As they cross heavily populated areas, they are the main polluters of the Velhas basin.

Major floods in the provincial capital occur mainly in the Onça sub-basin. The steep topography of Belo Horizonte makes the soil more impermeable, leading to more disasters.

Maria José Zeferino, a retired teacher from neighboring schools, at the Our Lady of Mercy Park, which was built to clean up a stream from urban pollution that was spreading diarrhea and parasites among the students of three nearby schools, in Belo Horizonte, a city in southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Maria José Zeferino, a retired teacher from neighboring schools, at the Our Lady of Mercy Park, which was built to clean up a stream from urban pollution that was spreading diarrhea and parasites among the students of three nearby schools, in Belo Horizonte, a city in southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Other riverbank parks

The Belo Horizonte city government has been working on drainage plans for years and has been implementing the Program for the Environmental Recovery of the Valley and Creek Bottoms since 2001.

In April it published the Technical Instruction for the Elaboration of Drainage Studies and Projects, under the general coordination of Aroeira.

Since the end of the last century there has been a “paradigm shift,” said Aroeira. Channeling watercourses used to be the norm, but this “merely shifted the site of the floods.” Now the aim is to contain the torrents and to give new value to rivers, integrating them into the urban landscape, cleaning them up and at the same time improving the quality of life of the riverside populations, he explained.

The construction of long, narrow linear parks, which combines the clean-up of rivers or streams with environmental preservation, riverside reforestation and services for the local population, is one of the “structural” measures that can be seen in Belo Horizonte.

The participation of students and teachers from three neighboring schools stood out in the implementation in 2008 of the Nossa Senhora da Piedad Park in the Aarão Reis neighborhood, home to 8,300 inhabitants in 2010, near the lower section of the Onça River.

Cleaning up the creek that gives the park its name was the major environmental and sanitary measure.

“Sewage from the entire neighborhood contaminated the stream and caused widespread illnesses among the children, such as diarrhea, verminosis (parasites in the bronchial tubes) and nausea,” Maria José Zeferino, a retired art teacher at one of the local schools, told IPS.

The medicinal herb garden in the Primer de Mayo Ecological Park was a demand of the local population in the southern Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte. Creation of the park included the clean-up of a polluted stream and provides a gathering and recreational area for local residents. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

The medicinal herb garden in the Primer de Mayo Ecological Park was a demand of the local population in the southern Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte. Creation of the park included the clean-up of a polluted stream and provides a gathering and recreational area for local residents. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

The park, which belongs to the municipality, has an area of 58,000 square meters, a pond, three courts for different sports, a skateboarding area and a paved walkway for the elderly. A total of 143 families and one farm received compensation to vacate the area, leaving many fruit trees behind.

“A clean river was our dream. And the goal of the next stage is to have swimming, fishing and boating in the city’s streams,” said Zeferino.

The Primer de Mayo Ecological Park, in the neighborhood of the same name with 2,421 inhabitants according to the 2010 census, was built during the revitalization of the stream of the same name, covering 33,700 square meters along a winding terrain. The novelty is a medicinal herb garden, a demand of the local population.

“We discovered 70 springs here that feed the stream that runs into the Onça River,” said Paulo Carvalho de Freitas, an active member of the Community Commission that supports the municipal management of the park and carries out educational activities there.

“My fight for the future is to remove much of the concrete with which the park was built, which waterproofs the soil and goes against one of the objectives of the project,” which was inaugurated in 2008, said Freitas.

WWP Beauty Launches New Sustainable Service Program During Cosmoprof Bologna

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Musa Dias, WWP Beauty, CMO commented, "As a part of this new service program the company also launched five new packaging collections each featuring an innovative and sustainable new material. These materials included:

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About WWP Beauty

WWP Beauty is committed to developing future–focused, sustainable solutions for the global beauty industry through close collaboration, exceptional agility, and unparalleled scale. The company's full–service offering of formula, packaging, and accessories, paired with their in–house manufacturing capabilities allow them to stand out as the source for everything beauty. Through a worldwide team of beauty experts that spans across North America, EMEA, and APAC, WWP Beauty offers its customers global support at the local level. To learn more, visit our website at www.wwpbeauty.com.

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