South-South Cooperation and International Labour Standards (ILS)

Since 1919, the International Labour Organization has established and developed a system of International Labour Standards (ILS) – international Conventions and Recommendations drawn up by representatives of governments, employers and workers from around the world – aimed at promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.

In today’s globalized economy, International Labour Standards are an essential component of the international framework for ensuring that the growth of the global economy provides benefits for all. They were developed to provide a global system of instruments on labour and social policy, backed up by a system of supervision to address all the types of problems arising in their application at the national level. They are the legal component of the ILO’s strategy for governing globalization, promoting sustainable development, eradicating poverty and ensuring that everyone can work in dignity and safety.

The ILO has been engaged in several activities and projects involving South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) arrangements to address issues related to International Labour Standards. This engagement has taken the form of project coordination, provision of technical expertise, and facilitation of knowledge-sharing, among others.

Key Resources:

Writing the rules of the game – how international labour standards are created

Podcast: Writing the rules of the game – how international labour standards are created

How are International Labour Standards (ILS) created and kept fit for purpose? What topics might they need to address next?
Labour standards

International Labour Standards (ILS)

In today’s globalized economy, International Labour Standards are an essential component in the international framework for ensuring that the growth of the global economy provides benefits to all.
Rules of the game (ILO, 2019)

Rules of the game: An introduction to the standards-related work of the International Labour Organization (ILO, 2019)

This publication provides a brief presentation of the ILO’s standards policy.
ILS and Human Rights

International Labour Standards as Human Rights

An explanation about how rights and standards in the world of work are linked to human rights and why they are essential for establishing social justice and decent work for all.
Labour Rights are Human Rights for all Workers

Labour Rights are Human Rights for all Workers

A reflection on the vital need to safeguard the right of vulnerable workers to a safe and healthy working environment.
Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work

Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work

They include the abolition of child labour, the elimination of forced labour, the elimination of discrimination, the freedom of association and a safe and healthy work environment.
Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all (ILO, 2015)

Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all (ILO, 2015)

These guidelines are meant to provide non-binding practical orientation to Governments and social partners.
General Materials

General materials related to South-South Cooperation and International Labour Standards

South-South Cooperation and ILS on the Informal Economy:

Informal Economy

How can South-South Cooperation strengthen ILS related to the Informal Economy?

Informal Economy 2

Informality and the potential for South-South Cooperation between BRICS (ILO, 2021)

This publication aims to promote South-South Cooperation between the BRICS countries on the transition to formality from informality.

South-South Cooperation and ILS on Labour Migration:

Labour Migration

How can South-South Cooperation strengthen ILS related to Labour Migration?

ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration (2006)

ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration (ILO, 2006)

Non-binding principles and guidelines for a rights-based approach to labour migration.
South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Labour Migration (ILO, 2020)

South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Labour Migration: A Peer-Learning Guide (ILO, 2020)

This publication shows how SSTC can be instrumental to strengthen labour migration policies and guarantee migrant workers’ rights.
Compilation on South-South and Triangular Cooperation Good Practices, Academy on Labour Migration (ILO, 2023)

Compilation on South-South and Triangular Cooperation Good Practices, Academy on Labour Migration (ILO, 2023)

This is a collection of experiences written by participants of the Academy.
International Labour Standards on Migrant Workers’ Rights (ILO, 2007)

International Labour Standards on Migrant Workers’ Rights: Guide for Policymakers and Practitioners in Asia and the Pacific (ILO, 2007)

South-South Cooperation and ILS on Occupational Health and Safety:

Occupational Health and Safety

How can South-South Cooperation strengthen ILS related to Occupational Health and Safety?

International Labour Standards on Occupational Safety and Health

International Labour Standards on Occupational Safety and Health

The ILO has adopted more than 40 standards specifically dealing with occupational safety and health, as well as over 40 codes of practice.
Fundamental Principles of Occupational Health and Safety (ILO, 2008)

Fundamental Principles of Occupational Health and Safety (ILO, 2008)

This publication introduces the ILO instruments promoting occupational safety and health, as well as approaches, tools and areas of action.

South-South Cooperation and ILS on the Elimination of Child Labour:

International Labour Standards on Child labour c

International Labour Standards on Child labour

The fundamental ILO standards on child labour are the two legal pillars of global action to combat child labour: Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).
Video: Jose Ramirez (ILO FUNDAMENTALS) talks about South-South Cooperation for the elimination of child labour
Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour

Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour

An intergovernmental and tripartite platform for action in which governments, workers' organizations and employers' organizations work actively to eliminate child labour in the region.
United Nations World Day Against Child Labour (12 June)

United Nations World Day Against Child Labour: 12 June

Observed on June 12th, the UN World Day Against Child Labour is intended to serve as a catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against child labour.
More materials on South-South Cooperation for the Elimination of Child Labour

More materials on South-South Cooperation for the Elimination of Child Labour

Regional and Sub-regional South-South Cooperation activities on ILS:

Subregional Tripartite Workshop

Subregional Tripartite Workshop: Promoting Forward Thinking Normative Strategies through South-South Cooperation

This workshop is part of a project that combines SSTC with integrated normative strategies in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
Video: Anastasiia Pavlova (ILO PARDEV) talks about subregional tripartite workshop in Bangkok (9-10 Oct 2023) for promoting normative strategies through SSTC
Report of the South-South Subregional Tripartite Workshop (Bangkok, 9-10 Oct 2023)

Report of the South-South Subregional Tripartite Workshop (Bangkok, 9-10 Oct 2023)

The workshop was attended by tripartite constituents from Bangladesh, Nepal, and Viet Nam.
Normas internacionales del trabajo para magistrados, juristas y docentes en derecho

Course: International Labor Standards for Magistrates, Jurists and Law Scholars (Buenos Aires, 8–12 July 2019)

This course had a session on South-South and Triangular Cooperation applied to ILS, including concepts, definitions and experiences.
Promoting Green Infrastructure Investments and Forestry Works among South and East African Countries by Enhancing SSTC (ILO, 2023)

Promoting Green Infrastructure Investments and Forestry Works among South and East African Countries by Enhancing SSTC (ILO, 2023)

South-South Cooperation on ILS in the CPLP:

CPLP-ILO Cooperation (ILO, 2023)

CPLP-ILO Cooperation

The partnership between ILO and the CPLP is anchored in social justice, particularly Decent Work, and promotes tripartite dialogue along with South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
Video: Labour inspector Guilherme Candemil talks about Brazil’s support for South-South Cooperation in labor inspection at CPLP
(Activate CC and click on ⚙️ for subtitles in English)
A CSST na CPLP – Boas Práticas na Proteção Social e no Combate ao Trabalho Infantil

South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the CPLP: good practices in social protection and combating child labor (ILO, 2015)

This publication aims to promote the dissemination and exchange of experiences and good practices.
Course – Strengthening the Capacities of Labour Inspections to Eradicate Child Labour (2023)

Course: Strengthening the Capacities of Labour Inspections to Eradicate Child Labour in CPLP countries Through South-South Cooperation (27 Feb to 17 Mar 2023)

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