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International Labour Organization


Last modified: 2023-12-09 by zachary harden
Keywords: international labour organization | international organization | united nations | ilo | oit |
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[International Labour Organization]
image by Zachary Harden, 31 December 2020

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About ILO

The International Labour Organization formulates policies and programmes to improve working conditions and employment opportunities, and sets labour standards used by countries around the world. The flag is UNO blue, with the letters ILO surrounded by an interrupted cogwheel, and the UNO branches.
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 24 June 2000

Founded under the League of Nations, it is the first and oldest specialised agency of the UN, as as Part XIII of the Versailles Peace Treaty. During the Peace Conference it was established on January 25, 1919 to appoint a Commission on International Labour Legislation and after 35 sessions, it reported back to the Conference on March 24, 1919. During the Plenary Session of April 11, 1919 it was then approved the report to the Commission and mandated for it to have its first Conference on October of the same year. On October 29, 1919 the first Conference was held at the Pan American Union Building in Washington, D.C., United States. [As of 2021] The ILO has 187 member states: 186 out of 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. (Source)
Esteban Rivera, 31 December 2020

The Flag

The ILO web site ( contains some interesting documents related to the ILO flag. Apparently the flag was created in 1969, but was not officially adopted until 2005. The resolution adopting the flag also provided a detailed set of regulations for its use and display. The November 2004 agenda item from the ILO Committee on Legal Issues and International Labor Standards, which recommended adoption, is interesting:

  1. The "flag" of the International Labour Organization, designed in 1969 for the ILO's 50th anniversary ceremonies, is not a flag in the strict legal sense. It is used for ceremonial purposes and bears the emblem of the ILO. Having not been officially recognized, it is a de facto flag, the use of which is subject to restrictive conditions which do not allow the Organization to be given the visibility it might need.
  2. In particular, the flag cannot be displayed outside buildings occupied by the ILO, nor can it be flown with national flags at official gatherings. During the Pope's visit in 1971, the ILO flag was not amongst the flags of the other international organizations.
  3. In order for the ILO emblem to be come a flag, it must be formally adopted by the International Labour Conference, which is the supreme body of the organization.

The resolution of 15 June 2005 specified the dimensions of the flag as 2x3, 3x5, or "the same proportions as those of the national flag of any country in which the International Labour Organization flag is flown." I wonder if the ILO has an office in Nepal.
Peter Ansoff, 8 March 2007

The flag that was first used, was a light blue version in accordance to UN colors, which states Pantone 279 should be the color used.
Esteban Rivera, 31 December 2020

French and Spanish version of the flag

[International Labour Organization] image by Zachary Harden, 31 December 2020

The Magazine "World of Work" in Number 54 from August 2005 wrote:
"Though the ILO flag has been used for decades, its presence was merely "decorative" according to a 1977 letter from the ILO to the Flag Research Center in the U.S., which said "the ILO does not have a flag….we have used it solely for decorative purposes inside meeting rooms on a number of occasions, but it cannot be used outdoors as no steps have been taken for its adoption."
The ILO flag had been designed and manufactured on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Organization in 1969 but never properly registered. Few ILO staff, and even fewer outsiders, knew that what most people considered to be the official banner of the Organization - bearing the logo approved by then Director-General David A. Morse in 1967 on a light blue background - had no official standing. As a result, it could not be displayed at official gatherings and was subject to other restrictive conditions. That began to change this year as the ILO moved forward in the official adoption process. Why was the ILO flag merely a "decoration" for so many years? The issue goes back to the founding of the UN in 1945 when the ILO and other specialized agencies were discouraged from adopting their own official flags on the grounds that a proliferation of banners would detract from the sense that all specialized agencies should be seen as part of the broader UN system. But times change. Over the years, other UN organizations have adopted their own flags to demonstrate their unique standing within the UN family. The adoption of a resolution by the International Labour Conference in June (2005) legalizing the flag ensures that the ILO will be no exception. No longer a mere decoration, the ILO flag will now take its rightful place alongside other agency flags representing today’s UN.
So, we can conclude that the ILO flag was adopted in June 2005, and the French version in December 2006.
Valentin Poposki, 16 April 2007

This version is also used in Spanish-speaking countries as the English name translates to Organización Internacional del Trabajo (also using OIT as its acronym).
Zachary Harden, 31 December 2020

100th Anniversary Flag

[International Labour Organization] image by Zachary Harden, 31 December 2020

For its centenary (1919-2019), a new logo and flag were unveiled in September 2018 for the upcoming ocassion. The logo has the ILO logo towards the hoist, the number 100 in faded colors (from red to deep red) and below the years 1919 and 2019 separated by a dot, all in blue colors, and below the slogan "Social Justice" (in light red capitals) and below another slogan: "Decent work" (in light brown capitals). Notice that the centenary logo is not applied in full to the flag, as the logo displayed on the flag lacks the slogans, and the years is displayed in blue under the main logo, as seen in this picture gallery event where the flag (using the French/Spanish logo variant) is officially displayed.

According to the logo design guide, the main typography is Montserrat (for design applications) and also Times New Roman. The color codes for this centenary ILO logo (apply also to the binary ILO-OIT logo blue and white) are: Blue: ILO Blue (Pantone Reflex Blue): RGB: 55 70 142, CMYK: 100 72 0 6 Light Red: RGB: 228 0 70 , CMYK 0 94 64 0 Deep Red: RGB: 162 25 66 , CMYK: 29 100 70 27 Light Brown: RGB: 162 48 27 , CMYK: 0 94 94 27
Esteban Rivera, 31 December 2020