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International Labor Organization (ILO)

Development and Global Promotion of International Labour Standards

The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the UN, which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights. It was founded in 1919 and is the only surviving major creation of the Treaty of Versailles, which brought the League of Nations into being, and it became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.

The ILO formulates international labour standards in the form of Conventions (183 as of June 2001) and Recommendations (190) setting minimum standards of basic labour rights: freedom of association, the right to organize, collective bargaining, abolition of forced labour, equality of opportunity and treatment, and other standards regulating conditions across the entire spectrum of work related issues. It provides technical assistance primarily in the fields of vocational training and vocational rehabilitation; employment policy; labour administration; labour law and industrial relations; working conditions; management development; cooperatives; social security; labour statistics and occupational safety and health. It promotes the development of independent employers' and workers' organizations and provides training and advisory services to those organizations. Within the UN system, the ILO has a unique tripartite structure with workers and employers participating as equal partners with governments in the work of its governing organs.

The ILO bases its action on four strategic objectives (promote and realize standards and fundamental principles and rights at work; create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and income; enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all; strengthen tripartism and social dialogue) which, together with gender mainstreaming and overall developmental concerns, form the ILO Decent Work agenda.

The ILO in the CIS

On April 1, 1959 the ILO Moscow Branch Office was established.

On September 5, 1997, the ILO and the Government of Russian Federation signed an agreement on the transformation of the Moscow Branch Office into the ILO Area Office, which implied direct design and implementation of technical cooperation activities, in addition to representative functions.

In 1998 the ILO strengthened its Moscow Office by a group of experts, the East Europe and Central Asia Multidisciplinary Team was formed. The ILO Office in Moscow now covers 10 countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Kyrgyzstan.

The ILO Office in Moscow is part of the Regional Department for Europe and Central Asia (based in Geneva). Its staff is about 45, local correspondents in some countries of the region included.

The ILO in Kyrgyzstan

At the moment, the ILO works with the three constituents under the framework of a Cooperation Programme between the ILO and the Kyrgyz Republic for 2001-2002, which is the logical extension of the Country Objectives signed in 1998.

The following activities could be mentioned within the main directions of the Country Cooperation Programme.

International Labour Standards
  • ILO Moscow provided detailed comments on a number of draft laws, based on international experience and relevant ILS.
    A seminar on the implementation of and reporting on international labour standards was held in Bishkek.
  • A tripartite Kyrgyz delegation took part in the Central Asian Conference on International labour Standards and Labour Inspections in Almaty .
  • An advisory mission on child labour was undertaken to identify priority areas of action and to initiate research on the issue. A rapid assessment survey on child labour and street children was initiated in 2000.
  • The pilot project "Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) in Kyrgyzstan" with 25 trainers trained in SIYB methodology was implemented jointly with the Kazakhstan SIYB Project under guidance of ILO Moscow.
  • Kyrgyzstan is part of the ILO Regional Programme on the Promotion of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in Central Asia
  • ILO provided direct advice to Kyrgyzstan on migration policies
Social Protection
  • An ILO Moscow Office Mission took place in April 2001 a) to discuss with high-level officials from the Government responsible for the CDF and PRSP the situation with these processes and the relevance of the ILO participation in their further development and implementation and b) to take part in the National Gender Forum and make presentations on the ILO gender mainstreaming approach and feminization of poverty issues.
  • The government requested ILO support and advice in pension reform policy.
  • Kyrgyzstan is part of the ILO STEP Programme (Strategies and Tools against Social Exclusion and Poverty).
  • Kyrgyzstan has ratified 44 of the ILO Conventions and including seven of the eight conventions addressing fundamental principles and rights at work (freedom of association, abolition of child labour, non-discrimination).
Social Dialogue

ILO is working actively in strengthening parties to organized social dialogue, and work in close collaboration with the GTZ (Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit) in this area.

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