About ILO

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International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the UN agency that specialises in the world of work. It was founded in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I to reflect the principle that universal and lasting peace can only be achieved if it is built on social justice.

The ILO is the only “tripartite” United Nations agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to shape policies and programmes for social justice and decent working and living conditions for all women and men. For this it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969.

The protection of workers against sickness, diseases and injury is a primary task of the Organization, which is also responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards (Conventions and Recommendations) —many of which address occupational safety and health. This unique arrangement gives the ILO an edge in incorporating “real world” knowledge about employment and work.

In 2008, the ILO constituents adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, which articulates the contemporary vision of the ILO’s mandate in an era of globalisation. In 2009, the ILO adopted the Global Jobs Pact, which serves as a policy framework for measures centred on investment, employment and social protection to accelerate jobs recovery in a time of crisis. In 2012, the ILO adopted a Recommendation concerning national floors of social protection (No.202), which advocates for the establishment of social protection floors as a fundamental element of social security systems and the progressive extension of social security to as many women and men as possible.

The ILO works towards ensuring a shift from the global challenge of decent work deficits towards the achievement of sustainable development. Today, there are 185 ILO member States, and the ILO convenes a yearly general assembly—the International Labour Conference, an executive council—the Governing Body, and comprises a permanent secretariat—the International Labour Office, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Conference, an executive council—the Governing Body, and comprises a permanent secretariat—the International Labour Office, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

To learn more about the ILO, visit www.ilo.org.

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