ILO Conventions and Recommendations
An essential means of action available to the ILO for the realization of its mandate of extending social security to all is the setting of international labour standards. Since 1919, the ILO has adopted 31 Conventions and 23 Recommendations in this area, which have greatly contributed to the development of social security as a universal human right - notably by laying down specific obligations and guidelines for Member States. In 2002, the ILO Governing Body confirmed eight out of these 31 Conventions as up-to-date social security Conventions.
Most prominent among these is the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102). It is the only international Convention that defines the nine branches of social security, sets minimum standards for each of these branches, and lays down principles for the sustainability and good governance of those schemes. Another important feature of this Convention is that it contains flexibility clauses, thereby allowing ratifying member States to accept as a minimum three out of the nine branches of social security, with at least one of those three branches covering a long-term contingency or unemployment, so as to allow as many countries as possible to comply with the requirements laid down in the Convention.
The Income Security Recommendation, 1944 (No.67), together with the Medical Care Recommendation, 1944 (No.69), laid down for the first time in history the guiding principles for the eight classical social security contingencies, as well as medical care and benefits to be provided to all residents through social insurance and complemented by social assistance. (The Governing Body decided to maintain the status quo of Recommendation No.69, due to the strong link with Recommendation No.67). These two instruments, which were adopted in 1944 in Philadelphia at the 26th Session of the International Labour Conference, paved the way for the adoption of Convention No.102.