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ILO Conventions: background and preparatory work

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ILO between the two world wars

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  1. Key documents

Establishment of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations and of the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards

During the first years of ILO’s existence, international labour standards were adopted and regular supervisory activities carried out each year during the plenary meetings of the International Labour Conference (ILC). The rapidly growing number of ratifications soon led, however, to a concomitant rise in the number of annual reports submitted. It became clear before long that the Conference plenary would no longer be able to examine all the reports, adopt new standards and deliberate other key matters. In 1926, the 8th Session of the ILC therefore adopted a resolution establishing an annual Conference committee (subsequently called the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards) and asked the Governing Body to appoint a technical committee (subsequently called the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations).

The two committees would become the pillars of ILO’s supervisory system.

The Committee of Experts is an independent body made up of jurists appointed by ILO’s Governing Body. Its mission is to examine the application of ILO conventions and recommendations by the Member States. The experts come from different geographical regions, legal systems and cultures. The Committee meets each year in November and December. Its task is to indicate to what extent the legislation and practice of each Member State conform to the conventions it has ratified and to what degree the Member State discharges the obligations incumbent on it by virtue of the ILO Constitution. In accomplishing that task, the Committee adheres to the principles of independence, objectivity and impartiality.

The Conference Committee on the Application of Standards is one of the ILC’s standing committees. It is tripartite and as such comprises government, employer and worker representatives. At each session, the Committee elects a bureau made up of a chairperson (a government member), two vice-chairpersons (employer member and worker member) and a rapporteur (government member). The Committee meets ever year during the June session of the ILC. Its deliberations focus on:

  • the General Report and General Survey of the Committee of Experts;
  • grave breaches by the Member States of their obligation to report or other obligations relating to the standards;
  • individual cases involving the application of ratified conventions on which the Committee of Experts has made observations.
  1. 1919-1939:
    ILO between the two world wars
    1. 1919
    2. 1920
    3. 1926
    4. 1927
    5. 1930
    6. 1932
    7. 1936
    8. 1939
  2. 1940-1945
  3. 1946-1959
  4. 1960-1988
  5. 1989-1998
  6. 1999-

ILO Century Project

ILO Century Project Timeline

The ILO and the Quest for Social Justice

Video: The ILO and the Quest for Social Justice

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Last update: 23.02.2015 ^ top