United Nations

The ILO and the UN system

Decent work has become a global goal. Its achievement, however, needs a more effective United Nations and a stronger multilateral system. Today, the ILO participates in United Nations coordinating mechanisms and works with the rest of the UN family, at all levels, to promote decent work and sustainable development.

The Sustainable Development Agenda is built on the same principles as the decent work agenda in that it is universal, inclusive, transformative and firmly based on the normative framework of the UN system. It is based on a vision that we should protect our planet for our children, who will learn and grow up to live healthy lives, in peaceful and safe societies with strong institutions and inclusive and sustainable economies, and where poverty and inequality are things of the past.

The United Nations system is made up of 15 specialized agencies – of which the ILO was the first to join in 1946 – 23 funds, programmes, research institutes and other entities plus numerous functional and regional commissions and subsidiary bodies.

I believe employment and decent work, particularly for young people, are the backbone of development. This is what the ILO stands for."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

How the ILO works with the United Nations

  1. Positioning decent work and employment in the UN

    The ILO supports and takes part in United Nations system-wide coherence initiatives to position decent work and employment within the UN. In this work, the ILO contributes to UN coordinating mechanisms at all levels.

  2. UN partnerships

    Partnerships – in many different forms – help the ILO in providing more women and men with decent work opportunities all over the world, and a key part of this is working towards developing synergies with key players in the multilateral system.

  3. Working with the UN in countries

    The ambitious sustainable development agenda calls for the UN system to work together even more efficiently. It is important to ensure that the UN is “Fit for Purpose”.