The standards initiative

The standards initiative aims to consolidate tripartite consensus on an authoritative supervisory system and to enhance the relevance of international labour standards through a standards review mechanism.

International labour standards are legal instruments drawn up by the ILO’s constituents setting out basic principles and rights at work.

Standards policy, while universally recognized as the core function of the ILO, has frequently been the subject of debate and occasional controversy. It is such challenging but welcome debate that has enabled the standards system to adapt to changing needs and realities in the world of work.

In this context, the Standards Initiative, comprised of two components, is a series of measures to help the Organization renew and upgrade the body of ILO standards as well as to ensure full tripartite support of its supervisory system.
  • The first component of the Standards Initiative will enhance the relevance of international labour standards, through a Standards Review Mechanism.
This Mechanism, made up of a tripartite working group, has been mandated to review the ILO’s international labour standards. With this review, the ILO’s tripartite constituents aim to ensure that the body of standards is robust and responsive to the constantly changing patterns of the world of work, for the purpose of the protection of workers and taking into account the needs of sustainable enterprises.
  • The second component of the Initiative is intended to consolidate tripartite consensus on an authoritative supervisory system.
In this regard, the Chairperson of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, and the Chairperson of the Committee on Freedom of Association jointly prepared a report on the interrelationship, functioning and possible improvement of the various supervisory procedures of the ILO Constitution and the complaints mechanism on freedom of association.

This report was submitted to the ILO Governing Body in March 2016 and an appropriate follow-up is being ensured by the Director-General.

Overall, the efforts by the various bodies of the ILO supervisory system to continuously improve their working methods will certainly be a key factor in enhancing the trust and support of the ILO constituents for this system and steer it soundly into the next century of its existence.

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