Non-profit

International Labor Organization

Website:

www.ilo.org/global/lang–en/index.htm

Location:

Geneva, Switzerland

Formation:

1919

Executive Director:

Guy Ryder

Type:

United Nations Agency

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is an agency of the United Nations that promulgates standards for worker protection. The ILO is a tripartite organization in which all programs, policies, and standards must be approved by representatives of governments, employers, and workers. [1]

The International Labor Organization’s Preamble Constitution stated that peace across the world can only be achieved “based upon social justice.” Its main tasks include the adoption of international labor standards, which include guidelines on child labor, hours of work, worker housing, health and safety, paid rest and holidays, and the protection of migrant workers. [2]

The International Labor Organization is primarily funded through contributions from member states and voluntary contributions from funding partners, including member states which wish to contribute more to the ILO than required, private foundations, public institutions, private sector initiatives, international financial institutions, and other entities such as the United Nations and the European Commission. [3]

Background

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency and a tripartite organization, meaning that all policies, programs, and standards be approved by representatives of governments, employers, and workers. [4]

The ILO was created in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I after its constitution was drafted by the Labor Commission, which was then chaired by Samual Gompers, the head of the American Federation of Labor. The ILO first included representatives from Belgium, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. [5]

Reflecting security, political, humanitarian, and economic considerations from its inception, the ILO’s Preamble Constitution states that lasting, universal peace can only be achieved “based upon social justice.” The ILO constitution claimed that improvements on hardships, injustice, and privation in labor issues were urgently required and argued that any nation that failed to adopt humane labor conditions was an obstacle for other nations wishing to improve labor conditions in their own countries. [6] More recently, the ILO has claimed that its current mission is to build an “ethical and productive framework for a fair globalization.” [7]

The ILO’s main task is securing the adoption of international labor standards to which member states of the United Nations must adhere. These standards, called conventions and recommendations, include guidelines on various aspects of labor, such as child labor, hours of work, rest and holidays with pay, worker housing, occupational health and safety standards, and the protection of migrant workers. The standards also cover human rights issues including the abolition of forced labor, freedom of association, and the promotion of full employment. [8]

The ILO has three main bodies: the International Labor Conference, which meets annually to set broad policies and international labor standards; the Governing Body, which meets three times a year to decide on ILO policies and budget to send to the Conference for adoption; and the International Labor Office, the ILO which is the center point for the overall activities and management of the organization. [9]

History

The International Labor Organization appointed its first director and moved its headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland in 1920. The ILO created nine international labor conventions and ten recommendations in its first two years, including standards that covered issues such as work hours, minimum work ages, night work for women and young people, maternity protections, and unemployment. [10]

The ILO created the Committee of Experts in 1926 to overlook the application of the organization’s standards. The Committee exists today and consists of “independent jurists” who examine government reports and present their own report on the implementation of conventions and recommendations every year to the ILO Conference. [11]

The ILO became a specialized agency for the United Nations in 1946, a year after the United Nations formed. The ILO created the International Institute for Labour Studies in 1960 and the International Training Centre in 1965. In 1969, the ILO was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. [12]

Funding

The ILO is primarily funded through assessed contributions from member states of the United Nations, and voluntary contributions from funding partners. The Program and Budget of the International Labor Organization sets strategic objectives and outcomes for the organization’s work and is approved by the International Labor Conference every two years. The program explains what the ILO is expected to do within two years and specifies the strategies and results expected, while also authorizing relevant budget expenditures. [13]

The ILO budgets includes the regular budget, which is comprised of assessed contributions from member states of the United Nations; the regular budget supplementary account, which is funded by voluntary contributions from “key resource partners;” and the extra-budgetary technical cooperation resources, which are funded by resource partners that include public and private organizations, United Nation entities, and international financial institutions. [14]

The ILO received more than $459 million in voluntary contributions from funding partners in 2019, a 46% increase over voluntary contributions in 2018. It also received just over $784 million from assessed contributions by member states for the 2018-2019 biennium, and $27.3 million in Regular Budget Supplementary Account (RBSA) funds for the same period. [15][16]

The ILO reported a total expenditure of just under $780 million for its regular budget, $875,000 worth of unforeseen expenditures, and slightly under $3.5 million in expenditures for “Institutional investments and extraordinary items” for the 2018-2019 biennium. [17]

The ILO has reported an expected regular budget of $790.6 million for 2020-2021, and an estimated total expenditure of just under $775 million for its regular budget, $875,000 in unforeseen expenditures, and approximately $15.5 million in “institutional investments and extraordinary items” for the same period. [18]

The highest member states and institutions which contributed voluntary funds to the International Labor Organization in 2019 were the Netherlands with $95.7 million, the European Commission with $89.8 million, Germany with $45.5 million, the United Kingdom with $38.8 million, the United States with $33 million, Domestic Trust Funds with $27.1 million, and the United Nations itself with $26 million. These voluntary contributions are separate from RBSA contributions. [19]

Contributions to the ILO by foundations, public institutions, and private sector initiatives amounted to just under $12.7 million in 2019, and contributions from international financial institutions amounted to approximately $2.2 million for the same year. [20]

References

  1. “History of the ILO,” History of the, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  2. “The Nobel Peace Prize 1969,” NobelPrize.org, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1969/labour/history/. ^
  3. “ILO Voluntary Contributions Annual Report 2019,” ilo.org, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@exrel/documents/genericdocument/wcms_751179.pdf. ^
  4. “History of the ILO,” History of the, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  5. “History of the ILO,” History of the, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  6. “History of the ILO,” History of the, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  7. “History of the ILO,” History of the, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  8. “The Nobel Peace Prize 1969,” NobelPrize.org, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1969/labour/history/. ^
  9. “How the ILO Works,” How the ILO works, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/how-the-ilo-works/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  10. “History of the ILO,” History of the, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  11. “History of the ILO,” History of the, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  12. “History of the ILO,” History of the, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  13. “Programme and Budget,” Programme and budget, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/how-the-ilo-works/programme-and-budget/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  14. “Programme and Budget,” Programme and budget, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/how-the-ilo-works/programme-and-budget/lang–en/index.htm. ^
  15. “ILO Voluntary Contributions Annual Report 2019,” ilo.org, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@exrel/documents/genericdocument/wcms_751179.pdf. ^
  16. “Budget of Expenditure 2020-2021,” ilo.org, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_mas/—finance/documents/genericdocument/wcms_735028.pdf . ^
  17. “Budget of Expenditure 2020-2021,” ilo.org, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_mas/—finance/documents/genericdocument/wcms_735028.pdf . ^
  18. “Budget of Expenditure 2020-2021,” ilo.org, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_mas/—finance/documents/genericdocument/wcms_735028.pdf . ^
  19. “ILO Voluntary Contributions Annual Report 2019,” ilo.org, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@exrel/documents/genericdocument/wcms_751179.pdf. ^
  20. “ILO Voluntary Contributions Annual Report 2019,” ilo.org, accessed March 1, 2021, https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@exrel/documents/genericdocument/wcms_751179.pdf. ^
  See an error? Let us know!

International Labor Organization


Geneva,
Switzerland