The Inter-Parliamentary Union: An Overview

  • IPU President, Senator Gabriela Cuevas Barron of Mexico
  • The IPU Secretary-General, Martin Chungong
  • IPU Headquarters, The House of Parliaments in Geneva

Strong democratic parliaments serving the people

The IPU is an international organisation comprising the parliaments of sovereign states established in 1889 in Paris by William Randal Cremer (United Kingdom) and Frédéric Passy (France). It was the world's first permanent forum for political multilateral negotiations and the British Group of the IPU has remained active in its work since its inception.

The IPU is the global organization of national parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.  As the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue, it works for peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy. To that end, the IPU: fosters contacts, co-ordination, and the exchange of experience among parliaments and parliamentarians of all countries; considers questions of international interest and concern and expresses its views on such issues in order to bring about action by parliaments and parliamentarians; contributes to the defence and promotion of human rights - an essential factor of parliamentary democracy and development; contributes to better knowledge of the working of representative institutions and to the strengthening and development of their means of action.

Comprising parliamentarians from 179 Member Parliaments and 12 Associate Members, the IPU aims to complement international relations conducted at inter-governmental level by ministers, ambassadors and other state officials by establishing friendship, understanding and co-operation between parliamentarians on issues of common concern and international significance.

The IPU supports the efforts of and works in close co-operation with the United Nations, whose objectives it shares. The Union also co-operates with regional inter-parliamentary organisations, as well as with international intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations which are motivated by the same ideals. The IPU is supported by an International Secretariat based in Geneva since 1921 with responsibility for co-ordinating the IPU's global activities, including biannual Assemblies and other specialised meetings.  The current Secretary General of the IPU is Martin Chungong. The Annual Report of the IPU for 2018/19 was released on 18 March 2019.

Strategy 2017-21

The IPU Strategy 2017-2021, drafted under the guidance of IPU Member Parliaments, sets the vision, mission and objectives of the organization. It outlines the actions that need to be taken by the IPU community to achieve its agenda and the two overarching goals of building strong, democratic parliaments and mobilizing them around the global development agenda.

The IPU’s Vision contained in its Strategy 2017-21 is:

We want a world where every voice counts, where democracy and parliaments are at the service of the people for peace and development.

The IPU’s Mission Statement, as contained in its Strategy 2017-21 is:

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments. We promote democratic governance, institutions and values, working with parliaments and parliamentarians to articulate and respond to the needs and aspirations of the people.  We work for peace, democracy, human rights, gender equality, youth empowerment and sustainable development through political dialogue, cooperation and parliamentary action.

The IPU's stated objectives endorsed in its Strategy 2017-21 are to:

Objective 1: Build strong, democratic parliaments

Objective 2: Advance gender equality and respect for women’s rights

Objective 3: Protect and promote human rights

Objective 4: Contribute to peace building, conflict prevention and security

Objective 5: Promote inter-parliamentary dialogue and cooperation

Objective 6: Promote youth empowerment

Objective 7: Mobilize parliaments around the global development agenda

Objective 8: Bridge the democracy gap in international relations

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