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The Declaration of Philadelphia, adopted by the International Labour Conference in 1944 and later annexed to the ILO Constitution, reaffirms the principles to which the organization is dedicated. It states that “all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity.” The ILO’s motto is: “Poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere.” Its aim, therefore, is to improve labour conditions in regard to wages, hours of work and conditions of work. The ILO is a tripartite organization and includes representatives of the governments, employers and the employees. The International Labour Conference is the supreme deliberative body of the ILO.

It meets only at ILO headquarters at Geneva and is attended by more than 1,000 delegates, technical advisers and observers. Each national delegation is composed of two government delegates, one employers’ delegate and one workers’ delegate. The conference elects the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, adopts the ILO budget, sets international labour standards, in the form of conventions and recommendations, and provides a world forum for the discussion of social and labour questions. The Governing Body (executive council) consists of twenty-four Government members, twelve employers’ members and twelve workers’ members. Ten of the Government members represent States of chief industrial importance-Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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The Governing Body normally meets three or four times a year at Geneva, elects the Director-General of the International Labour Office, and approves the budget for the adoption of the confidence. It determines policy and work programmes, decides the conference agenda, in so far as this is not fixed by the conference itself, and supervises the work of the office of the various ILO Committees and other bodies.


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