International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization was founded in 1919 to promote social justice and internationally recognised human and labour rights, reflecting the belief that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice. The ILO is the only tripartite U.N. agency, bringing together governments, employers and trade unions from 175 member States. Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a member state of the ILO since 1993.

Today, the ILO helps advance the creation of the economic and working conditions that give working people and business people a stake in lasting peace, prosperity and progress. Its tripartite structure provides a unique platform for promoting decent work for all women and men.  The ILO has four strategic objectives: promoting rights at work; strengthening tripartism and social dialogue on work-related issues; encouraging decent employment opportunities for both women and men; and enhancing social protection for all.

ILO's values are based on the fundamental principles embodied in the ILO Constitution and its annex, the Declaration of Philadelphia, of 10th May, 1942, that "Labour is not a commodity", "Freedom of expression and association are essential to sustained progress", "Poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere" and "The war against want requires to be carried on with unrelenting vigour within each nation, and by continuous and concerted international effort in which the representatives of workers and employers, enjoying equal status with those of governments, join with them in free discussion and democratic decision with a view to the promotion of the common welfare”.  

More recently, in 1998, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work took up the challenges of globalisation: social progress has to go hand in hand with economic progress. The Declaration is a commitment by governments, employers' and workers' organisations to uphold basic human values - values that are vital to our social and economic lives. The Declaration commits Member States to respect and promote principles and rights in four categories: freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of forced or compulsory labour, the abolition of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.  This commitment is supported by a Follow-up procedure. Member States that have not ratified one or more of the core Conventions are asked each year to report on the status of the relevant rights and principles within their borders.

ILO Presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina  

The ILO's Regional Office for Europe, located in Geneva, and the Sub-regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe in Budapest, are responsible for ILO activities in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The ILO Support Unit in Sarajevo was established in 1996 and is headed by the ILO National Correspondent.

ILO activities in Bosnia-Herzegovina promote the development of democratic labour institutions and tripartism, and assist in realising the adoption and implementation of policies that guide the transition towards a market economy in a socially responsible manner. The ILO also provides technical assistance to promote employment creation through small and medium enterprise development.

Since the opening of the ILO Office in Sarajevo, a number of projects have been implemented:

vocational training to support the Bihac employment programme, at the Bihac Construction Training Centre (funded by Luxemburg)

the promotion of small and medium enterprise development through the establishment of  Enterprise Development Agencies (EDA’s) in Banja Luka, Bihac, Brcko, Mostar and Livno (funded by the Italian Government and UNDP)

a professional rehabilitation programme for war-disabled people at the Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Fojnica (funded by the German Government)

an extensive programme for the promotion of social dialogue and tripartism, consisting of a series of seminars and workshops in different economic sectors (funded by the Italian Government)