Conventions and Recommendations are the instruments used by the International Labour Conference to set international labour standards. The Conference also adopts other types of texts, including declarations. Declarations are resolutions of the International Labour Conference used to make a formal and authoritative statement and reaffirm the importance which the constituents attach to certain principles and values. Although declarations are not subject to ratification, they are intended to have a wide application and contain symbolic and political undertakings by the member States. The primary Conference declarations are set out below. In 1977, the Governing Body of the International Labour Office also decided to issue a declaration reflecting guidence on how to apply international labour standards in the context of multinational enterprise operations; this declaration has been updated periodically since that time.
International Labour Conference Declarations
The statement of principles and policies adopted by the International Labour Conference in 2008 builds on principles recognized in the Constitution of the International Labour Organization, including the Declaration concerning the Aims and Purposes of the ILO of 1944 and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of 1998. The Declaration on Social Justice expresses the contemporary vision of the ILO's mandate in the era of globalization.
Adopted in 1998, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work is an expression of commitment by governments, employers' and workers' organizations to uphold basic human values - values that are vital to our social and economic lives. The Declaration is accompanied by a Follow-up.
The Declaration on Equality of Opportunity and Treatment for Women Workers was adopted by the International Labour Conference in 1975 on the occasion of International Women's Year. It recognizes equality of opportunity and treatment for all workers and calls for the elimination of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex which deny or restrict such equality. The Conference issued other resolutions concerning gender equality in 1981, 1985, 1991, 2004, and 2009.
In 1964, the International Labour Conference unanimously adopted a Declaration concerning the Policy of Apartheid of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and an ILO programme for the elimination of apartheid in labour matters in RSA. In 1990 future South African President Nelson Mandela addressed the ILC thanking the ILO for this support and practical action it had levied against apartheid. This Declaration was updated in 1981, 1988 and 1991 and rescinded with the adoption of the Resolution concerning post-apartheid South Africa in 1994.
In 1944, the International Labour Conference, meeting in Philadelphia, USA, adopted the Declaration of Philadelphia, which further articulated the aims and purpose of the Organization.
Governing Body Declarations
The principles laid down in this universal instrument offer guidelines to MNEs, governments, and employers' and workers' organizations in such areas as employment, training, conditions of work and life, and industrial relations. Its provisions are reinforced by certain international labour Conventions and Recommendations which the social partners are urged to bear in mind and apply, to the greatest extent possible. The adoption of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up in 1998 highlighted the importance of the fundamental Conventions in realizing the objectives of the ILO, and consequently, the MNE Declaration takes into account the objectives of the 1998 Declaration.