The role and mandate of the ILO

The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization was established by the ILO's Governing Body in February 2002, at the initiative of the Director-General of the ILO, Mr. Juan Somavia. This endeavour was in response to the fact that there did not appear to be a space within the multilateral system that would cover adequately and comprehensively the social dimension of the various aspects of globalization. Yet it was urgent that the multilateral system began responding to the needs of people as they try to cope with the unprecedented changes that globalization has brought to their lives, their families, and the societies in which they live.

The Governing Body of the ILO (which has a tripartite representation of Member States, representatives of workers' and employers' organizations) had already established some years ago a Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization. The Working Party meets in Geneva twice a year, in March and November, as an integral part of the Governing Body's agenda. The Governing Body could be seen as the "institutional anchor" in terms of the role and mandate of the ILO in the follow-up of the World Commission's Report.

The International Labour Conference, which meets every year in June in Geneva, assembles the international community in national tripartite delegations. The 2004 session of the International Labour Conference provided the "political direction" for the future role of the ILO in promoting a fair globalization. The Conference had before it a Report of the Director-General on the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization: A Fair Globalization: the Role of the ILO. The main thrust of the deliberations that followed is captured in the Director-General's Reply to the discussion of his Report during the Conference.

The results of the June 2004 Conference debate guided the Governing Body discussions at its November 2004 session on the implications of the report for the ILO's future work. The Working Party had also before it a Report prepared by the International Labour Office on Follow-up to the Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization: Next steps. The outcome of these discussions is summarized in the Report by the Chairperson of the Working Party, November 2004 session. On the basis of the priorities outlined by ILO's tripartite constituents, the Office will prepare more detailed proposals on the most important areas for follow-up action on the Commission's recommendations for the March 2005 session of the Governing Body.


Reports of the Governing Body
International Labour Conference