International Labour Organization (ILO)

Organisation internationale du travail (OIT)
Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT)

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1919-06-28 Versailles France


Established by Part XIII (Labour) of T-XT1999 - Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany (Treaty of Versailles), taking over the activities of 'International Labour Office (BIT)', set up in 1901, Basel (Switzerland), as an autonomous body, by H-XH3702 - International Association for Labour Legislation, 1889, formed 9 Sep 1889, Paris (France). The International Labour Office is now the Secretariat of the ILO. Subsequently associated with the H-XH2906 - League of Nations, as an autonomous part of the League. Constitution became operative 11 Apr 1919. In 1944 took over the activities of H-XH2620 - International Technical Training Office, created 27 Sep 1931. On 14 Dec 1946, became the first specialized agency associated with the A-XA3375 - United Nations (UN) as a Specialized Agency within F-XF1000 - United Nations System linked to E-XE3377 - ECOSOC, under the terms of an agreement which recognized the responsibility of ILO in its own field of competence. The International Labour Conference, held in 1944, Philadelphia PA (USA), adopted a Declaration redefining the aims and purposes. Instruments amending the original Constitution were adopted by the Conference in 1945, 1946, 1953, 1962 and 1972, and came into effect respectively in 1946, 1948, 1954, 1963 and 1975. Last Amendments to the Standing Orders of the International Labour Conference were adopted by the Conference at its 82nd Session, Jun 1995. Directors-General: Albert Thomas, France (1919-1932); Harold Butler, UK (1932-1938); John G Winant, USA (1939-1941); Edward J Phelan, Ireland (1941-1948); David A Morse, USA (1948-1970); Wilfred Jenks, UK (1970-1973); Francis Blanchard, France (1974-1989); Michel Hansenne (1989-1999); Juan Somavia (1999-2011); Guy Ryder (2012-present). Headquarters established at Geneva (Switzerland) in 1920. From 1940 until 1948 ILO activities were directed from a working centre at Montréal QC (Canada). On its 50th anniversary in 1969 it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


Promote opportunities of decent work for all; promote and realize standards and fundamental principles and rights at work; create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and income; enhance coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all; strengthen tripartism and social dialogue.


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'International Labour Conference (ILC) -- Conférence internationale du travail -- Conferencia Internacional del Trabajo', composed of national delegations comprising 4 delegates (2 from government, 1 worker and 1 employer), each of which may be accompanied by technical advisers. 'Governing Body' comprises 56 persons, 28 representing governments, 14 representing workers and 14 representing employers. Countries which are of chief industrial importance hold 10 of the 28 government seats while the remaining 18 are filled by election. 'International Labour Office' is the secretariat of the Organization and comprises the Director General's Office and 6 departments: Standards and Fundamental Principles; Employment; Social Protection; Social Dialogue; Regions and Technical Cooperation; Support Services. Industrial Committees (8): Building, Civil Engineering and Public Works; Coal Mines; Chemical Industries; Iron and Steel; Metal Trades; Petroleum; Textiles; Inland Transport. Tripartite committees (work on plantations, salaried employees and professional workers). Joint Maritime Commission; Joint Committee on the Public Service; Rural Development Committee. Permanent expert bodies: Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations; Committee of Social Security Experts; panels of consultants concerned with special problems; E-XE2708 - Global Coalition for Safety and Health at Work.

Multidisciplinary teams (17):

  • 'Africa':
  • ILO Decent Work Team for West Africa (DWT/CO, Dakar);
  • ILO East Africa Multidisciplinary Advisory Team (ILO/EAMAT);
  • ILO North Africa Multidisciplinary Team;
  • ILO Southern Africa Multidisciplinary Advisory Team (ILO/SAMAT);
  • Equipe multidisciplinaire consultative de l'OIT pour l'Afrique sahélienne (BSR-Dakar);
  • ILO Central and West Africa Multidisciplinary Advisory Team (OIT/EMACO).
  • 'America':
  • ILO Subregional Office for the Andean Countries (SRO-Lima / OSR-Lima);
  • ILO Central American Multidisciplinary Technical Advisory Team (OIT/ETM San José);
  • ILO Multidisciplinary Technical Advisory Team, Santiago (OIT/ETM Santiago).
  • 'Asia':
  • ILO East Asia Multidisciplinary Advisory Team (ILO/EASMAT);
  • ILO South Asia Multidisciplinary Advisory Team (ILO/SAAT);
  • ILO Subregional Office for South-East Asia and the Pacific.
  • 'Europe':
  • ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team and Country Office for Central and Eastern Europe (DWT/CO-Budapest);
  • Multidisciplinary Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ILO/EECAT).
  • 'Arab States':
  • ILO Arab States Multidisciplinary Advisory Team (ILO/ARMAT).


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Annual Budget

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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

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UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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