Labour and Social Policy

Internationale Arbeitsorganisation (ILO) in Genf

Internationale Arbeitsorganisation (ILO) in Genf, © StV-AT


The ILO is one of the few specialized agencies of the United Nations system which are older than the United Nations Organization itself.

Established in 1919 in the framework of the Treaty of Versailles, the ILO operates in Geneva since 1920.

The Federal Republic of Germany ranks third in terms of assessed contributions to the ILO (behind the USA and Japan) and makes voluntary financial contributions for purposes related to technical cooperation. The aim of Germany’s involvement is to support the ILO in its goal to strengthen the social dimension of globalization and to foster the creation of decent work for all. In this respect, the association of the ILO with G20 governance finds Germany’s special support.

The long history of the ILO shows remarkable achievements: fundamental workers’ rights (freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining), reduction of working hours, maternity protection and the ILO standards regarding the abolition of child labour and elimination of forced labour.

In the United Nations family the ILO represents a unique international tripartite forum of governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations, its four strategic objectives being:

  • Promotion and realization of fundamental principles and rights at work
  • Creation of opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and income
  • Enhancement of coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all
  • Strengthening of cooperation between employers, workers’ representatives and governments as well as of social dialogue

In Germany, dialogues between the government and the social partners, the employers’ and workers’ organizations, has a historical tradition. Freedom of association and the right to free collective bargaining are essential elements in the social market economy system.

In light of a solid record of social partnership, the German government and the social partners share a special interest in advancing this concept and engaging in dialogue at the international level.

The Labour and Social Policy Section of the Permanent Mission of Germany has close ties to the bureaus and departments of the ILO as well as with the international umbrella organizations of the social partners (International Trade Union Confederation/ITUC and the International Organization of Employers/IOE).

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