Foreword by the Director-General

Since its foundation in 1919, the ILO has demonstrated great creativity and a remarkable capacity to adapt to changing circumstances.

Ever vigilant when global developments called for a forceful reminder that social progress could not be ignored, it adopted the Declaration of Philadelphia in 1944, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up in 1998, and the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization in 2008.

These Declarations have given the ILO essential direction at critical times, but there has been much more. The Organization has built strong partnerships and become a leader in the changing constellation of the multilateral system, establishing decent work as a shared objective of the international community for the twenty-first century.

The lessons of the ILO’s past are that its future depends on constant renewal in the face of evolving realities and the active commitment of its tripartite constituency to unchanging values and goals.

Yet the goal of social justice, and hence of universal and lasting peace, is still to be achieved. Indeed, there are good reasons to see it less as a fixed goal that will one day be reached definitively, and more as a receding horizon defined by the permanent distance between reality and aspiration, which is part of the human condition.

From this perspective, it is proper to focus on our shared concerns: the persisting injustice and inequalities we need to work against. The economic and financial crisis that hit in 2008 – and the tragedy of mass unemployment and underemployment it has brought to many countries – should not obscure the real economic and social progress generated by the unprecedented dynamism of the emerging countries in particular. By the same token, the continued and widespread absence of social justice should not blind us to the historic achievements of the ILO. Failure to recognize our successes is just as harmful as complacency in our determination and capacity to continue the job.

Since I took office as Director-General of the ILO, the Organization has embarked upon a major process of change and reform designed to equip it to respond efficiently to the needs and expectations of its constituents and to renew its capacity to deliver its mandate of social justice.

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General

This report highlights the ILO's development results, success stories and good practices, focusing on the different regions and key issues concerning them.

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General

The reform process will give the ILO a new direction, setting a course to enhance the research and analysis capabilities, to be able to provide clear policy advice and workable solutions to increasingly complex work issues, with an improved focus on areas of critical importance, strong technical partnerships and appropriate investment in the ILO’s people and systems; to strengthen collaboration across the ILO and beyond, optimizing the way we work as “One ILO”, strengthening relationships with our constituents and proactively working with our partners across the UN,  and beyond to ensure our solutions are fully formed and highly practical; and to improving efficiency to maximize our impact, collaborate and communicate better and make the most of the resources available.

This review of our development results over the past two years reflects the changing nature of our operations and the growing recognition of the value of decent work. Let us hope together that it will bring about the needed changes in the world of work worldwide.

Guy Ryder,
ILO Director-General