Overview of the ILO supervisory mechanisms

Since its creation in 1919, the mandate of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has included adopting international labour standards, promoting their ratification and application in its member States, and the supervision of their application as a fundamental means of achieving its objectives. In order to monitor the progress of member States in the application of international labour standards, the ILO has developed supervisory mechanisms which are unique at the international level.

1 Under article 19 of the ILO Constitution, a number of obligations arise for member States upon the adoption of international labour standards, including the requirement to submit newly adopted standards to national competent authorities and the obligation to report periodically on the measures taken to give effect to the provisions of unratified Conventions and Recommendations. A number of supervisory mechanisms exist whereby the Organization examines the standards-related obligations of member States deriving from ratified Conventions. This supervision occurs both in the context of a regular procedure through periodic reports (article 22 of the ILO Constitution), 2 as well as through special procedures based on representations or complaints to the Governing Body made by ILO constituents (articles 24 and 26 of the Constitution, respectively). Moreover, since 1950, a special procedure has existed whereby complaints relating to freedom of association are referred to the Committee on Freedom of Association of the Governing Body. The Committee on Freedom of Association may also examine complaints relating to member States that have not ratified the relevant freedom of association Conventions.