Act by which a State expresses, on the international plane, its consent to be bound by a Convention and apply in good faith its provisions. Under article 19(5)(d) of the Constitution, “if the Member obtains the consent of the authority or authorities within whose competence the matter lies, it will communicate the formal ratification of the Convention to the Director-General and will take such action as may be necessary to make effective the provisions of such Convention”. A formal instrument of ratification needs to be communicated to the ILO Director-General, in order for the ratification to become effective in international law. If this is not done, it may be that a Convention is regarded by a State as ‘ratified’ in its internal legal system, but it will produce no effect at the international level.

No specific requirements as to form are laid down in the Constitution. Each member State has its own constitutional provisions and practice. Nevertheless in order to be registered, an instrument of ratification must: (a) clearly identify the Convention being ratified; (b) be an original document (on paper, not a facsimile or photocopy) signed by a person with authority to engage the State (such as the Head of State, Prime Minister, Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs or Minister of Labour); (c) clearly convey the government’s intention that the State should be bound by the Convention concerned and its undertaking to execute faithfully its obligations under the Convention.