As the oldest specialized UN agency, the International Labour Organization celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Exactly one hundred years ago, on 11 April 1919, the plenary session of the Paris Peace Conference accepted the draft ILO Constitution which became part of the Treaty of Versailles signed on 28 June 1919 to end World War I. This remarkable date was celebrated by a day-long series of 24 Global Live Tour events spanning four continents to mark the ILO Centenary.

The ILO Office for Central and Eastern Europe showcased its work in Ukraine and put beneficiaries, partners and constituents in the limelight. On 11 April, 2019 the diplomatic corps, UN organizations, constituents, students and ILO staff came together in Kyiv for a talk show to hear testimonies of how the organization is advancing the labour market in the country and to celebrate. This very special day was appropriately closed by a spectacular display of lights and festive Centenary messages illuminating the Gulliver tower in central Kyiv.

The Central and Eastern European ILO office provides advisory services to 18 member countries to develop policies and programmes that promote more and better jobs. The biggest development cooperation portfolio of the office is the Ukrainian, with a budget of USD 10+ Mio. Backed up by a local team of 14 staff, ILO works to improve the number and quality of jobs and create safe, secure and inclusive working conditions for all. Currently the ILO focuses on the labour inspection and State Employment Services reform, EU approximation in the areas of Occupational Health and Safety standards, entrepreneurship development, HIV/AIDS awareness and maternity protection at the workplaces, and social dialogue. To capture this rich and diverse portfolio within the one-hour talk show, the discussion highlighted primarily ILO work on employment and working conditions, moderated by Andriy Kulikov, an acclaimed Ukrainian TV anchor.

The employment panel reflected on how the labour market has changed since the reforms came into effect in 2014 and on the ILO contribution to a better functioning labour market. This included a drastic review of the legal framework for the functioning of the State Employment Service (SES) relying on ILO Standards as benchmarks during the revision. The recently introduced career counsellors of the State Employment Service were fully equipped by the ILO to deliver tailored-made services to job searchers based on their needs and competencies. „We offer trainings to the unemployed to learn new skills or upgrade existing ones, or launch new businesses”--Maryana Shymanska, Career Counsellor at SES explained during the Live event.

Now the ILO is helping the SES to institutionalize and roll out forward. Happy Centenary, ILO!