WAPES was funded in 1988 by six countries (Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and the United States), with the support of the International Labour Office (ILO).
Canada held the Presidency and Switzerland held the Secretariat.
In the 80-90s, labour markets were in turmoil. Public employment services (PES) were undergoing strong structural reforms. In this environment, WAPES was perceived as essential to encourage contacts among the diverse institutions, to promote exchanges of information and experiences, and also to improve the cooperation between more developed and less developed PES.
The International Labour Office’s role
The ILO played a very active role during the creation and the constitution of WAPES.
Indeed, at the end of the 70s, Sergio RICCA of ILO/ADMITRA (the Administration of work branch) invested a lot of energy to find the funds necessary for the financing of a structure to help PES to meet, to know each other better and to learn from each other.
Thanks to him and thanks to the strong commitment of Lionel Dixon from the Canadian PES, the foundations of WAPES were set up.
The ILO quickly considered that WAPES could be a tool of valuation, not only in the strengthening of the daily work of PES, but also in the improvement of the international legal frame.
At the same time, Sergio RICCA had the idea to modernise the Convention n ° 88 of the ILO governing the organisation of Public employment services since the 40s.
A few important dates
Creation of WAPES
WAPES is financially independent
Creation of the first WAPES website
New digital platform