United Nations

International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the oldest specialised agency of the United Nations. It was founded in 1919 and is based in Geneva. It the only UN organisation that is not composed entirely of member states. Its three-pronged structure includes governments, employers' federations and workers' organisations. This makes it the only global forum for the development of common activities for governments, employers and trade unions with a view to fostering social justice and improving working conditions around the world. The ILO currently has 187 member states.

Some of the major tasks of the ILO include setting standards, monitoring compliance with ILO standards in member states, Technical Cooperation with developing countries and the dissemination of information and the results of research. Since it was first founded, the ILO has drawn up international labour standards in the form of agreements and recommendations, and has adopted these at international labour conferences. They deal with fundamental aspects of labour law such as the freedom to establish associations and coalitions, and also with fundamental human rights, such as ending forced labour and child labour. The ILO also deals with a wide range of other standards relating to the working world and provides technical assistance in the following fields:

  • Vocational education and training

  • Employment policies

  • Labour management

  • Labour law

  • Working conditions

  • Social security

Alongside the USA and Japan, Germany is one of the ILO's largest donors. The Federal Republic of Germany is also involved in projects implemented by the ILO on a trustee basis and in special projects, for instance within the scope of the ILO's Decent Work Country Programme, which was launched in 2008 and focuses on stamping out child labour, encouraging productive employment and fostering trade unions in developing countries.

More information



International Labour Organization (ILO)

4 route des Morillons
1211 Geneva 22

Phone: +41 / 22 / 7 99 61 11
Fax: +41 / 22 / 7 98 86 85

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