PACE Consortium: who we are and what we are doing

by Marcella Mizzi

The Partnership Again Child Exploitation (PACE) Consortium, is an international development project funded by the UK Government. With a budget of £12 million, PACE seeks to combat the worst forms of child labour (WFCL), which are defined in ILO convention n. 182 as all practices that include the use of children in slavery, forced labour, trafficking, debt bondage, serfdom, prostitution, pornography, forced or compulsory recruitment for armed conflict, and all forms of work that are likely to harm the safety, health or morals of children. The programme targets three African countries: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia.

As mentioned on the Consortium website, “PACE is a ground-breaking partnership of private sector, academic, media development and civil society organisations working together to combat the exploitation of children in the WFCL”. Each partner’s mandate is as follows:

  • Charities World Vision and War Child work together to deliver community-based child protection, education and livelihood assistance to prevent children engaging in the WFCL.
  • Media development organisation Thomson Reuters Foundation leads the programme’s media and legal capacity strengthening interventions.
  • Columbia University leads the programme’s monitoring, evaluation, and applied learning strategy, which will include gathering global evidence and best practice from the field operations on how to combat the WFCL.
  • Private sector organisations Fifty Eight and UN Global Compact Network UK (UNGC UK) are focused on enabling the private sector to strengthen supply chains to reduce and prevent the WFCL.

We are six organisations with different mandates and expertise who joined forces to tackle the scourge of the WFCL. Cooperation among so many actors is challenging, but we are convinced that such a complex issue can be addressed if we adopt a holistic approach.

This innovative programme has also been mentioned in the latest UK Government’s Modern Slavery Statement, a statement in which the Government explains the steps it has taken to identify, prevent and mitigate modern slavery in our operations and supply chains. On page 18 of the statement, it writes: “We are working with several multi‑stakeholder initiatives to improve transparency and governance in the mining sector in DRC. For example, we are funding the Effective Approaches to Ending the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Fragile Contexts (EAPEC) programme, which brings together a consortium of NGOs, local partners, private sector and media development agencies to develop innovative approaches to ending child labour, including tackling the supply and demand issues which result in child labour in fragile states.”

The expectations are high. We have until September 2022 to find sustainable solutions to the WFCL, and prove that our multi-stakeholder approach is a successful one. Time to get to work!

PACE Consortium intro photo

Representatives of World Vision, War Child, FiftyEight, UNGC UK, and UNGC RDC, in Rubaya, DRC, February 2020, ©Benafsha Delgado

PACE Consortium: who we are and what we are doing