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General Surveys: Historical Background

Background to Article 19 of the ILO Constitution

Article 408 - Part XIII (Labour) of the Treaty of Versailles of 28 June 1919

Article 19 - Appendix XIII - Instrument for the Amendment of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation (Text in force on 9 October 1946, pp.603-610 of the pdf).

ILO Constitution Article 19

Historical Background

During the first years of ILO’s existence, international labour standards were adopted and regular supervisory activities were 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.

This timeline links the early years from 1919-1924, the beginning of the Committee of Experts and the Committee of the Conference in 1926, the constitutional amendment of article 19 in 1946, the suggestion of grouping Conventions and Recommendations by subject matter in 1950, now known as "general surveys", until the first report entitled "General Survey" in 1967.