Development cooperation builds bridges between the ILO’s standard-setting role and women and men everywhere. It is essential to give people decent work opportunities and an important means of assisting our constituents – workers, employers and governments – in making the Decent Work Agenda a reality. Simply put, development cooperation supports the technical, organizational and institutional capacities of ILO constituents for them to put in place meaningful and coherent social policy and ensure sustainable development.
Programmes and projects can be funded by the ILO's regular budget or by virtue of voluntary contributions from development partners. Voluntary contributions complement the ILO’s own resources and, in the period 2008-2014, made up 42 per cent of overall ILO funds. Voluntary contributions are allocated to ILO country and global outcomes and are usually managed through extra-budgetary projects.
Highlights of the ILO's work
Over the past decade, and with ILO assistance, more than 60 countries implementing almost 200 laws have adapted their legal frameworks to conform to the ILO’s child labour Conventions. Since 2004, in its regular review of the application of Conventions No. 138 and No. 182, the ILO’s Committee of Experts has seen a seven-fold increase in the number of comments noting progress.
At the country-level, the ILO has implemented more than 200 projects aimed at tackling child labour.
- Over the past 15 years, nearly one million children have been withdrawn or prevented from entering child labour by virtue of ILO projects in almost 110 countries all over the world.
- The total number of girls and boys in child labour dropped 30% from 246 million in 2000 to 152 million in 2017.
The ILO works with countries to extend social protection in two ways: by pushing for the rapid implementation of national social protection floors of basic social security guarantees that ensure universal access to essential health care and income security while also improving existing social protection schemes to provide higher levels of benefits, progressively, to as many people as possible.
Over the past ten years, the ILO has supported the development of:
- Social protection floors in 136 countries
- National social protection strategies in 34 countries
- Health protection in 30 countries
- Child benefits in 21 countries
- Maternity benefits in 20 countries
- Unemployment insurance schemes in 20 countries
- Public employment programmes in 31 countries
- Old-age pensions in 43 countries
Employment-intensive investments link infrastructure development with employment creation, poverty reduction and local economic and social development.
- Timor-Leste: Since March 2012, the ILO’s R4D programme has created 611,000 work days of direct short-term jobs. This translates to a cash transfer into the local economy of about USD 4 million.
- Nepal: Since March 2014, the ILO has supported local infrastructure development in 33 districts – home to more than half of the population of Nepal. Following the earthquake in April 2015, the coverage will be extended to another 3 districts.
- Somalia: The UN Joint Programme on local governance and decentralized service delivery, where the ILO played a key role, led to the creation of 136,500 work days and benefited the most vulnerable. A project focusing on Somali refugee returnees and a youth for change initiative has provided almost 43,000 work days.
Better Work – an ILO/IFC programme set up in 2009 – has improved conditions in factories employing more than 3 million workers by engaging with more than 60 global garment brands and 1,500 factories.
- Jordan: Migrant workers are now represented in an industry-wide collective agreement; factories have seen a 50% improvement in compliance of occupational safety and health requirements and 100% improvement in paying correct minimum wages and benefits. The programme has reached 65,000 workers in 77 factories involving 23 brands and retailers.
- Cambodia: Programme impacts are multiplied as many of the 550,000 workers send their earnings home to help their families, who, in turn use these funds to pay for education for younger siblings and medical bills. The programme has reached 550 factories involving 49 brands and retailers.
- Lesotho: Better Work has helped ensure that 100% of the factories involved have eliminated HIV/AIDS discrimination.
- Viet Nam: 65% of Better Work factories have seen a rise in total sales, 62% have increased production capacity, and 60% have expanded employment. . The programme has reached 691,000 workers in 502 factories involving 57 brands and retailers.