Under article 22 of the ILO Constitution member States have the obligation to report regularly on measures they have taken to give effect to the Conventions they have ratified. Each year, around 2,000 reports on ratified Conventions are requested by the Office out of the more than 8,200 ratifications of Conventions and Protocols registered by 1 September 2021. All reports are the subject of examination by the CEACR during its session held in late November and early December each year. A system has been set up for managing this caseload by staggering requests for reports.
Reports are requested every three years for fundamental and governance Conventions and every six years for all other Conventions. However, reports on the application of ratified Conventions may be requested at shorter intervals, i.e. outside the usual reporting cycle. Countries are divided into three groups for requests on fundamental and governance Conventions (A-F, G-N and O-Z) and into six groups for requests on technical Conventions (A-B, C-F, G-K, L-N, O-S and T-Z), according to the alphabetical order of their names.
The system for requesting reports also groups Conventions dealing with the same subject area in the same reporting year. Thus, for example, reports on all working time Conventions are requested in the same year for any particular country. No reports are requested on Conventions which have been abrogated, Conventions which have been withdrawn, Conventions which have not entered into force, Conventions on the final Articles and shelved Conventions.
Shelved Conventions are Conventions which no longer appear to be up-to-date. Ratification of shelved Conventions is no longer encouraged and their publication in Office documents, studies and research papers has been discontinued. Shelving also means that reports on the application of these Conventions are no longer requested. However, the right to invoke provisions relating to representations under article 24 of the ILO Constitution and complaints under article 26 of the ILO Constitution has remained intact. Employers’ and workers’ organizations remain free to make comments in accordance with the regular supervisory procedures, and the CEACR to review these comments and to request, if appropriate, reports under article 22 of the ILO Constitution. Finally, shelving has no impact on the status of these Conventions in the legal systems of the member States that have ratified them. In 1998, the Governing Body decided to shelve 25 Conventions and to defer the shelving of 10 Conventions. Since then, the International Labour Conference has abrogated or withdrawn a number of these instruments, while proposals to abrogate or withdraw the remaining shelved Conventions are gradually being reviewed by the Standards Review Mechanism Tripartite Working Group.
The system makes it possible for all to know know when reports on ratified ILO Conventions will be called for generally and from any particular member State.