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The ILO – A century of advancing social justice and promoting decent work

June 2018
Sheila Pantry OBE

In 2019, the International Labour Organization (ILO) – one of the oldest UN specialized agencies – will celebrate its 100th anniversary. The centenary will be an opportunity to celebrate the ILO’s achievements and reaffirm its position as the authoritative global organization for the world of work.

Charting the future

Since its creation, the ILO has a mandate to advance the cause of social justice as a means to achieve peace and prosperity. The centenary is an opportunity to reaffirm the relevance of the ILO’s social justice mandate and decent work agenda, and to chart the future of the Organization as it enters its second century.

The Centenary Initiatives and the Future of Work

In preparation for the anniversary, seven Centenary Initiatives are being implemented. At the forefront of these is the Future of Work Initiative. The ILO has convened a high-level Global Commission to undertake an in-depth examination of the future of work and provide the analytical basis for the delivery of social justice in the 21st century. The launch and discussion of the report of the Global Commission will figure prominently among the centenary events.

Historical research

Building on the historical research and analysis carried out in the framework of the ILO’s century project, and drawing on the unique collections of the ILO archives, a major output for the ILO’s centenary will be an academic publication on the history of the ILO. A photographic history is also planned.

A global commemoration

Throughout the centenary year, multiple events and initiatives will take place at the global, regional and national levels to celebrate the anniversary and to engage constituents and other audiences around the core values and vision of the Organisation as it prepares its second century of work. A highlight will be the centenary International Labour Conference in June 2019, and a number of other key dates will be commemorated and announced throughout 2018.

ILO centenary initiatives

Towards social justice

In 2019, the International Labour Organization – the oldest UN specialized agency – celebrates its 100th anniversary. In the run up to the anniversary seven Centenary Initiatives are being implemented – part of a package of activities aimed at equipping the Organization to take up successfully the challenges of its social justice mandate in the future.

Shaping a future that works for all

The world of work has the capacity to consign poverty to history, to provide decent work and living standards universally, and to extend protection from the risks of working life to all. That potential is yet to be realized. The problems of unemployment, underemployment, inequality and injustice are becoming more, not less, acute.

There are calls for fairer globalization, for balanced and sustainable development and for economic growth that drives social progress. Action in the world of work is crucial to these objectives. At the same time the world of work itself is rapidly evolving.

The ILO is equipping itself to understand and respond to the changes in the world of work and to give leadership in the global challenge of ensuring Decent Work for all women and men.

In 2013 the Director-General set out the challenges facing the Organization in his report Towards the ILO centenary: Realities, renewal and tripartite commitment, where he presented the seven centenary initiatives.

More information: www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/centenary/lang--en/index.htm