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Our history

With the purpose of opening an informal platform to the exchange of good practices in the field of employment services, WAPES was founded the 18 of October 1988 by the public employment services of Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the USA, together with the International Labour Organisation, ILO. ILO remains an observer to the organisation.


While the Executive Secretariat of WAPES was linked to the ILO headquarters at the beginning, it soon became an office with its own resources. The Executive Secretariat has been situated in Vienna and Paris and is since 2003 based in Brussels in the premises of VDAB, the Flemish Public Employment Service. The resources and the staff of the Secretariat come from generous contributions from different Public Employment Services.


The number of members has been constantly growing and today WAPES is an influential organisation in the different world regions, representing the expertise of over 1 million staff and working with powerful international organisations.




WAPES Presidencies


1989-1998         Canada     Mr Lionel Lindsey-Dixon

1998-1999         Tunisia       Mr Hédi Mamou

1999-2002         Norway      Mr Ted Hanisch, Mr Blaalid, Mr Lars Wilhelmsen, Ms Inger Johanne Stokke and Mr Per Engebretsen

2003-2006         Sweden     Mr Anders L Johansson and Mr Bo Bylund

2006-2012         France       Mr Christian Charpy and Mr Jean Bassère

2012-2015         Sweden     Ms Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist and Ms Elisabet Arp

2015-2018         Turkey       Mr Nusret Yazici, Mr Mehmet Ali Ozkan, Mr Ismet Köksal, Mr Cafer UZUNKAYA

2018-2021         Morocco     Mr Nourredine BENKHALIL, M. Abdelmonnime EL MADANI



WAPES Executive Secretaries


1989-1995           ILO              Mr Lukas Wagt

1995-1997           Austria         Mr Franz Gundacker

1998-1999           France          Mr François Ducloux

2000-2003           France          Mr Jean Duronsoy

2004-2011           Belgium        Mr Patrick Venier

2011-2017           Belgium        Ms Lenka Kint

2017-2018           Belgium        Ms Françoise Kuyl

2018-present       Belgium        Ms Eve-Marie MOSSERAY



World Congresses and General Assemblies


1992   Niort, France, Public Employment Services and the Private Sector

1995    Stratford-Upon-Avon, Great Britain, Pressures for Change

1997    Nuremberg, Germany, Globalization, Migration & Labour Market

1999    Merida, Mexico, Vision, strategy and management of Public Employment Services by the new millennium

2001    Bergen, Norway, PES at the crossroad: public active strategies for PES to meet new market demands

2003    Marrakech, Morocco, Promote Employment – fight unemployment through building new relations between the PES and social partners

2006    Quebec, Canada, Performance of PES in the 21st century

2009    Dubrovnik, Croatia, The crisis response of PES: Operational initiatives towards sustainable recovery

2012    Seoul, Republic of Korea, Public Employment Services and change management

2015    Istanbul, Turkey, PES and the New World of Work

2018    Marrakesh, Morocco, Public Employment Services in the Context of Sustainable Development and the Digital Age