ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

274th Session
Geneva, March 1999

Committee on Legal Issues and International Labour Standards



Agreement between the International Labour
Organization and the Inter-Parliamentary Union

1. The Committee will recall that at its 273rd Session (November 1998) an item regarding a Cooperation Agreement with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was placed on its agenda. However, the final text of a draft Agreement was not ready at that time.

2. The IPU was founded in 1889 on the initiative of William Randal Cremer (United Kingdom) and Frédéric Passy (France) as an association of individual parliamentarians. Over the years, it was transformed into a worldwide organization of parliaments. To date, its membership comprises 136 national parliaments and four regional parliamentary assemblies. One of these is the Latin American Parliament, established in 1964 and institutionalized by international treaty at an intergovernmental conference of Latin American States in 1987.

3. The nature and purpose of the IPU is set out in Article 1 of its Statutes adopted in 1976, which reads as follows:

4. The activities of the IPU are mainly focused on representative democracy, international peace and security, sustainable development, human rights and humanitarian law, women in politics, and education, science and culture. The principal organs of the IPU are the Inter-Parliamentary Conference which meets twice a year, the Inter-Parliamentary Council which determines and guides the activities of the Union, the Executive Committee which is entrusted with administrative functions, and the secretariat which is headed by the Secretary-General.

5. The IPU concluded cooperation agreements with the United Nations in July 1996, with UNESCO in June 1997 and with FAO in August 1997. The IPU also maintains active relations and cooperation with other intergovernmental organizations, such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Arab League, as well as with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

6. The IPU has since 1959 been invited by the Governing Body to attend the International Labour Conference in an observer capacity as a non-governmental organization. However, as an association of parliaments the IPU has a special status, and in 1975 the Governing Body approved the recognition of the jurisdiction of the ILO Administrative Tribunal by the IPU. This approval implied recognition of the IPU as equivalent to an intergovernmental organization for the purposes of the Statute of the Tribunal since, under that Statute, the Tribunal was at the time open only to international intergovernmental organizations. As indicated in paragraph 2 above, the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO), an associate member of the IPU, has been given a standing invitation to the sessions of the International Labour Conference and to the Conferences of American States Members of the ILO as an intergovernmental organization. Since 1996 the ILO has attended meetings of the IPU Conference and Council. In December 1997 the secretariats of the ILO and of the IPU undertook discussions to place their cooperation on a formal basis. Agreement has now been reached on a text which is being presented to the decision-making bodies of the two organizations. The full text of the proposed Agreement appears in the appendix to the present document.

7. The proposed Agreement aims at strengthening relations between the two organizations by facilitating their effective exercise of mutually complementary activities and allowing them to cooperate more closely in undertaking joint efforts in particular areas of activity, in furtherance of their common objectives of peace and democracy. It provides that the two organizations are to offer appropriate assistance to each other, in particular with regard to: (a) the promotion of ratification of instruments adopted by the International Labour Conference and their implementation through appropriate national legislation and regulations; and (b) the promotion and implementation of fundamental principles and rights at work, set out in the ILO Constitution and in the Declaration of Philadelphia as an essential factor of parliamentary democracy and development. The Agreement also contains provisions on the exchange of information and documentation relating to specific matters or activities of mutual interest. The proposed Agreement further provides for mutual representation at meetings and conferences of both organizations. In this regard, if the Governing Body, taking into account the special status of the IPU, agrees to article 3.2 of the proposed text appended to this paper, the IPU could be recognized as an official international organization for the purposes of the Standing Orders of the Conference and be given, like PARLATINO, a standing invitation to the International Labour Conference.

8. In the light of the above, the Committee may wish to recommend that the Governing Body approve the text of the Agreement between the International Labour Organization and the Inter-Parliamentary Union and authorize the Director-General (or his representative) to sign it on behalf of the ILO.

Geneva, 23 February 1999.

Point for decision: Paragraph 8.


Cooperation Agreement between the International Labour
Organization and the Inter-Parliamentary Union

Whereas the aim of the International Labour Organization (hereinafter referred to as the "ILO") is to achieve social justice through the improvement of conditions of labour, the protection of workers, and the promotion of democratic principles such as the principle of freedom of association based on tripartite dialogue;

Whereas the purpose of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (hereinafter referred to as the "IPU") is to work for peace and cooperation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative institutions based on the respect of fundamental human rights;

Whereas the common objectives of the ILO and the IPU are the pursuance of peace and democracy by promoting international cooperation in their respective areas of competence in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and whereas these common goals and objectives can be effectively advanced through cooperation and joint action;

Now therefore, the ILO and the IPU, being desirous of cooperating with each other within the framework of their respective constitutional mandates, have agreed as follows:

Article I


1.1. The ILO recognizes that the IPU, as the world organization of national parliaments, by virtue of its character and responsibilities plays an important role in promoting peace, democracy and international cooperation, in furtherance of and in conformity with the purposes for which the ILO was established.

1.2. The IPU recognizes the responsibilities and fields of action of the ILO under its Constitution and undertakes to give active support to the ILO's activities, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the ILO Constitution and with the policies established by the respective governing bodies of the parties.

1.3. The ILO and the IPU agree that the strengthening of cooperative relations between them will facilitate the effective exercise of their mutually complementary activities and therefore undertake to further those relations through the adoption of the practical measures set forth in the following provisions of this Agreement.

Article II

Consultations and exchange of information

2.1. The ILO and the IPU shall hold consultations on a regular basis in order to exchange views on matters of common concern. The date and form of such consultations shall be agreed between the parties.

2.2. Each organization shall keep the other appropriately informed of developments in its work and shall arrange for a regular exchange of documents and publications which may be of mutual interest.

Article III

Mutual representation

3.1. The ILO shall be invited to be represented and to participate as an observer at meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference. The ILO may also, whenever appropriate and subject to such conditions as may be agreed upon, be invited to participate in other meetings of the IPU dealing with subjects which fall within the competence, activities and expertise of the ILO.

3.2. The IPU shall be invited to participate in meetings of the International Labour Conference with the status of an official international organization. The IPU may also, whenever appropriate and subject to such conditions as may be agreed upon, be invited to participate in meetings organized by the ILO in which the IPU has expressed an interest.

Article IV

Areas of cooperation

4.1. In order to achieve effective cooperation and liaison between the two organizations, each organization shall designate a senior official to follow the progress of cooperation and to act as a point of contact.

4.2. The ILO and the IPU shall together explore areas for cooperation and shall offer appropriate assistance to each other in support of future joint action, particularly with regard to:

4.3. These joint activities may include, but are not limited to, the holding of joint special meetings or conferences at appropriate intervals on subjects within the competence of the ILO, and of particular relevance and interest to parliaments and parliamentarians, including follow-up action and implementation of relevant ILO activities.

4.4. Each party may ask the other for its assistance in the technical study of matters which are within the latter's field of competence. Any such request shall be examined by the other organization, which, within the framework of its policies, programmes and rules, shall make every effort to give appropriate assistance in such a manner and along such lines as may be agreed upon by the two organizations.

4.5. Each organization shall follow its own procedures in authorizing and financing the conduct of joint activities.

Article V

Entry into force, amendments and duration

5.1. This Agreement, having previously been approved by both the Governing Body of the ILO and by the Inter-Parliamentary Council, shall enter into force on the date of its signature by the duly authorized representatives of the parties.

5.2. This Agreement may be amended by mutual consent in accordance with the respective rules and regulations of the parties. Such arrangements shall enter into force one month following notification of consent by both parties.

5.3. Either organization may terminate this Agreement by giving six months' notice in writing to the other organization.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized representatives of the ILO and of the IPU, have signed the present Agreement.

SIGNED this day of ..... at Geneva in two originals each in the English and French languages, both of which are the original and authentic texts.


For the International Labour Organization

For the Inter-Parliamentary Union



(Authorized Representative)

(Authorized Representative)

Updated by VC. Approved by RH. Last update: 26 January 2000.