On the occasion of the centenary of the International Labour Organization (ILO), we are pleased to introduce this 11th special issue of International Development Policy, which explores the Organization’s capacity for action, its effectiveness and its ability to adapt and innovate.
The moral idea, ‘If you desire peace, cultivate justice’, which lay at the heart of the ILO’s foundation one hundred years ago, remains just as relevant today, in a world undergoing profound economic and technological transformation and increasing global inequality. How has the ILO adapted to change over time? What steps has the Organization taken to protect the most vulnerable? How well is it prepared and positioned to confront the new challenges of digitisation, automation and the ‘uberisation’ of work?
This collection of thirteen articles, written by twenty-one authors from around the world, attempts to address these questions in three parts. Part 1 looks at the ILO’s historic context, its functioning and decision-making process and the contemporary challenges it faces; Part 2 explores approaches and results in relation to labour and social protection; and Part 3 considers the changes shaping the future of work. The articles highlight the progress and gaps to date, as well as the constraints and circumstances that confront the ILO in its efforts to respond to the new dilemmas and challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, with regard to labour and social protection.
Articles in this issue were the subject of lively exchanges during and after an author’s workshop held in Geneva in September 2017 and we are grateful for the substantive comments of the anonymous reviewer and others who commented on earlier drafts. We also thank the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the État de Genève for their financial support.
We hope this collection will make a positive contribution to the reflections and debates around the hundredth anniversary of the ILO and will resonate among our readership of scholars and practitioners, thanks to its timely and relevant focus on issues affecting all of us in our working lives and beyond.
Geneva, January 2019