Improving cooperation and coordination between international organisations in the fight against child labour


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Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus. Fakultet for samfunnsfag

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Master in International Social Welfare and Health Policy


The purpose of this research study is to investigate how globalisation has changed the role of international institutions regarding governance at a global level. The focal point has been to study the demand for cooperation among the international institutions on a human issue that needs global action and cooperation. For a long time focus has been on single-purpose organisations, and there has been a lack of cooperation across the organisations. This study aims to study a cooperation model of governance, where there is both horizontal and vertical management. A combination of these two ways of management is required to improve cooperation. I address the fight against child labour as the issue that I want to attack. Further, I investigate the main organisations that address this issue and cooperate, namely ILO, UNICEF and the World Bank. They use various methods to tackle the issue of child labour, based upon their mandates and institutional missions. The methodological tool I use is a literature review and a qualitative method through a case study of an interagency cooperation between ILO, UNICEF and the World Bank. The programme I study is the Understanding Children’s Work (UCW) programme. This programme was established after recognition of the need for cooperation among the agencies that work with combating child labour. UNICEF, WB and ILO were all attending these conferences (UCW accessed 2011-05-31). I have conducted research on how they cooperate and I address the advantages and hindrances in their cooperation. This thesis asks: How does the Understanding Children’s Work (UCW) programme help promote cooperation and coordination between the ILO, UNICEF and the World Bank in the fight against child labour at the global level? The core findings in this thesis are that the cooperation model clearly has advantages in promoting cooperation and coordination, and that the UCW has been successful in many areas. It has brought international organisations closer to a common approach to fight child labour, and this is crucial to a reduction of child labour. It has also revealed that trust, personal relationships and flexibility are key words to establish good cooperation among agencies. It suggests that in future work on a shared culture between the actors needs to be carried out to reach their common goal. This must be built into the process of joined action (Considine and Lewis 2003, 132). The thesis suggests that because of the different mission statements of the actors that are involved, different organisational views need to be taken into account. Personal relationships and institutional mandates have an impact that demands that more attention be paid to these issues to ensure that the cooperation becomes even more successful.


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