ILO and the United Nations

The ILO has a unique history within the UN framework. The ILO was established in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, twenty-five years before the UN was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. In 1946 the ILO became the first specialized agency of the newly formed UN.

The ILO has a permanent mission in New York that liaises directly with the UN headquarters and other UN bodies. The ILO Office in New York ensures that ILO core priorities, interests, and policies are represented to UN fora, including the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Although the ILO office in New York takes the lead on engaging with the UN, ILO-Washington works in close collaboration with the UN agencies based in Washington, DC, including UN Development Programme, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNAIDS , and others to ensure a coherent framework of policy dialogue and engagement with the U.S. Government.

A major priority within the UN system is the post-2015 agenda. Significant progress has been made toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline. In fact, some of the goals have already been met. For example, the target to reduce extreme poverty rates by half was met in 2010. But there is still a lot of work to be done, particularly to ensure decent jobs and better livelihoods to millions in the world.

ILO-New York is taking the lead on the post-2015 agenda and ILO-Washington is engaging with U.S. constituents to encourage their support of ILO’s priorities in this new development context. ILO-Washington staff regularly collaborates with other UN Agencies and U.S. Government agencies on these issues.


  1. Sustainable Development Goals

    What is Decent Work?

    September 26, 2015