One hand holds a cocoa bean while another opens it
© UNICEF/UNI129910/Asselin

In the 16 years since the 2001 signing of the Harkin Engel Protocol - an agreement between chocolate and cocoa industry representatives - many efforts have been made to eliminate child labour in cocoa growing. Nonetheless the number of children in hazardous work in cocoa production continues to be of concern. Of additional concern is the projection that the demand for cocoa is set to increase by 30% over the next three years, putting additional pressure on small scale farmers to deliver, despite challenges resulting from climate change and decreased yields.


To accelerate progress towards eliminating child labour, a comprehensive approach is needed. This entails looking at the many and interrelated ways in which the cocoa sector impacts children's rights, directly and indirectly - from impacting household incomes and thereby children's economic access to education and nutritious food, to impacting children's health and safety through the use of chemicals and lack of maternity protections. Developing a sustainable cocoa supply chain that respects and supports children's rights will require systemic and holistic solutions and coordinated actions by all actors, public and private.