Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations
 Where is the Middle East?
International Labour Organisation, 2005

When the ILO began to develop regional offices in the 1960s, the first such offices covered the continents of Asia, Africa, and the Americas; later, in 1970, a Middle East/Europe Office was created. By 1985, the ILO had created a regional office for the Arab States. As of 2005, that office covered the countries listed above.

The ILO has resisted regionalism for fear of compromising universal labor standards. Typically, therefore, "regions" in the ILO encompass entire continents: Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas. Despite the existence of the regional office for the Arab States, those countries are generally treated as part of the larger Asia region for the purpose of convening regional conferences.

When the concept of region was being formally added to the ILO's constitutional structure, in the mid-1980s, Israel was excluded from the Asia region in the name of regional harmony; Israel participates instead in the European regional conferences.

Sources: Minutes of the . . . Session of the Governing Body 115 (June 1951), 75, 111; Yearbook of the United Nations 24 (1970): 898; Yearbook of the United Nations 39 (1985): 1285; Victor Yves Ghébali, The International Labour Organisation: A Case Study on the Evolution of U.N. Specialised Agencies (Dordrecht: M. Nijhoff, 1989); "Regional Office for the Arab States," International Labour Organization, english/region/arpro/beirut/regionaloffice.htm

"Arab States"
Saudi Arabia
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