Skip to main content

The Standards Initiative: Standards Review Mechanism

Overview of the Standards Review Mechanism

At its 312th session (Nov 2011), the Governing Body discussed the establishment of an SRM within the overarching framework of the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization as well as the ILO’s standards policy.
The Governing Body agreed to the establishment of the SRM and invited further consultations on the modalities of the SRM.

Taking into account the discussions at the March 2011 Governing Body session, the SRM can be structured and analysed around the following nine elements:
– Element 1: Objectives and proposed outcomes.
– Element 2: Guiding principles.
– Element 3: Framework.
– Element 4: Role of the Legal Issues and International Labour Standards (LILS) Section of the Governing Body.
– Element 5: Establishment of the tripartite working group.
– Element 6: Composition of the tripartite working group.
– Element 7: Working methods and terms of reference of the tripartite working group.
– Element 8: The selection of standards to be reviewed.
– Element 9: Time frames accompanying the reviews.

At its 323rd Session  in March 2015, the Governing Body decided to establish under the SRM a tripartite working group
At its 325th Session , the Governing Body considered and adopted terms of reference 

from Standards Review Mechanism Established 2011

Role of the LILS Section of the Governing Body

The SRM would operate under the auspices of the LILS Section of the Governing Body.

Objectives of the SRM

The key objectives that the SRM seeks are:

■ determination of the status of the standards;
■ determination of the best means for keeping the body of standards up to date;
■ identification of the up-to-date standards, and their promotion;
■ identification of the standards in need of revision or other action;
■ determination of new subjects and approaches for standard setting;
■ means for preparation and adoption of standards; and
■ identification of the means for effective implementation of standards.


The framework for the SRM would be the principles contained within the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization and the recurrent discussions of the four strategic objectives of employment, social protection, fundamental principles and rights at work, and social dialogue under that Declaration.


■ ensure that ILO standards provide effective protection for all workers in the workplace of today and take into account the need for sustainable enterprises;
■ ensure that, in light of the major challenges that have transformed or are transforming the world of work, the body of international labour standards remains capable of responding to present-day needs and conditions whilst also being sufficiently flexible to address future challenges;
■ strengthen support for up-to-date international labour standards and the ILO supervisory bodies, increase the number of ratifications and improve the implementation of ratified Conventions;
■ recognition that labour standards are central to meeting the needs of sustainable enterprises and modern-day workers; and
■ firmly establish the maintenance of the body of international labour standards as a necessary aspect in achieving the ILO’s strategic goals.

Tripartite working group

Under the SRM, LILS would establish a tripartite working group with a mandate to review the body of standards as determined by it and that fall within each of the four strategic objectives.

The selection of standards to be reviewed

All standards with the exception of: the fundamental and governance Conventions and their accompanying Recommendations, as well as the withdrawn, replaced and recently consolidated instruments; or

Standards not reviewed by the Cartier Working Party and adopted between 1985 and 2000 – with the exception of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 190), and the recently consolidated standards – standards that have been classified by the Cartier Working Party as having an interim status, those in need of revision and those for which further information was to be requested (Forty-eight Conventions, one Protocol and 51 Recommendations).