Decent work for sustainable development

The Netherlands and ILO


The Netherlands is highly committed to the mandate of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Social justice, decent work and productive employment are fundamental for sustainable development. We cooperate with the ILO and its members to continue to shape a fair, inclusive and secure future of work.

The difficult challenges the world is facing, including in the world of work, require intensive cooperation. The Netherlands government fosters a multi-stakeholder approach between governments, private sector, trade unions, civil society organizations and researchers. Together we take care of the global agenda for sustainable development, peace and security.


ILO standards and tripartism – global collaboration among governments, workers and employees – are the foundation of labour policy and practice in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands has ratified 109 Conventions, including the 8 Fundamental Conventions, 4 Governance Conventions and 97 Technical conventions. Our own experiences are inspiring us in our international support for dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders.

The Netherlands supports developing countries to implement ILO standards

Decent work

To make decent work a reality worldwide, the Netherlands supports developing countries to implement ILO standards. The Netherlands is among the major donors of the ILO.

We support programs on opportunities for decent work that are productive, tools for a living wage and the eradication of child labour. We also reinforce the capacity of trade unions and employer organizations in developing countries, in close cooperation with their Dutch counterparts.

Sustainable trade and investments

The Netherlands contributes to make international trade and investments sustainable. Clear and effective rules, resulting in a global level playing field, enable companies to grow their business in a socially and ecologically sound manner.

We stimulate the principle of tripartism – global collaboration among governments, workers and employees

Private sector

We also encourage the private sector to take up its own responsibility. We push for joint international action resulting in responsible business, productive employment, decent work and wise use of natural resources in global value chains. In the fight against child labour, the Dutch government, trade unions and companies work together with producer countries, for example in cocoa value chains.

We help strengthen work place safety and labour rights, like in the textile sector with the ILO/IFC Better Work program. We give high priority to equal opportunities for women and men.

Business and human rights

We promote, if needed facilitate, joint action by ILO and other international organizations, such as in business and human rights. We support joint action to provide sustainable economic opportunities for refugees and their host communities. The Netherlands and ILO have launched a strategic partnership with other international organizations to create livelihoods for refugees and host communities, for example in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

ILO decent work