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International Labour Conference: Home

The International Labour Conference through time

Quick Facts

The first ILC was held in Washington (USA) in 1919 and the second in Genoa (Italy) in 1920. Since then, all but five Conferences have been held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The ILO has held 110 Sessions of the International Labour Conference, where 190 Conventions6 protocols, and 206 recommendations have been adopted. 

What is the International Labour Conference?

The broad policies of the ILO are set by the International Labour Conference, which meets once a year in June, in Geneva, Switzerland.  This annual Conference brings together governments', workers' and employer's delegates of the ILO member States.

Often called an international parliament of labour, the Conference establishes and adopts international labour standards and is a forum for discussion of key social and labour questions. It also adopts the Organization's budget and elects the Governing Body.

Each member State is represented by a delegation consisting of two government delegates, an employer delegate, a worker delegate, and their respective advisers. Many of the government representatives are cabinet ministers responsible for labour affairs in their own countries. Employer and Worker delegates are nominated in agreement with the most representative national organizations of employers and workers.

Every delegate has the same rights, and all can express themselves freely and vote as they wish. Worker and employer delegates may sometimes vote against their government's representatives or against each other. This diversity of viewpoints, however, does not prevent decisions being adopted by very large majorities or in some cases even unanimously.

Heads of State and prime ministers also take the floor at the Conference. International organizations, both governmental and others, attend as observers.

Source: International Labour Conference (

Main Tasks

The International Labour Conference has several main tasks:

  • Craft and adopt International Labour Standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations;
  • Supervise the application of Conventions and Recommendations at the national level. It examines the reports that the governments of all Member States are required to submit, detailing their compliance with obligations arising out of ratified Conventions and their law and practice in respect of Conventions and Recommendations (ratified or not) on which reports have been requested by the Governing Body of the ILO;
  • Examine the Global Report prepared by the Office under the follow-up procedure required by the Declaration;
  • Freely discuss social and labour questions of importance to the entire world. The central theme is the report presented each year by the ILO's Director-General;
  • Pass resolutions providing guidelines for the ILO's general policy and future activities;
  • Adopt the ILO's biennial work programme and budget every two years, which is financed by member States.

Source: About the ILC (International Labour Conference (ILC)) (