Parliaments and ICT
In this section:
Setting standards and guidelines
Strengthening representative institutions
 FAQ about technical assistance
 Parliaments and ICT
Promoting inclusive parliaments
Promoting and defending human rights
Partnership between men and women
Promoting knowledge of parliaments
International Day of Democracy
Global Parliamentary Report
Guide on parliament and democracy
Key documents
Related sections:
Cooperation with the UN
Peace and security
Sustainable development
What is the IPU?


  Parliaments and ICT


IPU helps parliaments to build their capacity to use information and communication technologies (ICT) effectively. In a resolution adopted in 2003, the IPU Assembly called on parliaments to:

... make full use of the new information and communication technologies:

  • to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of their activities and to better connect with the electorate;

  • to expand inter-parliamentary relationships and cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels, thus enhancing parliamentary democracy and diplomacy;
... take legislative action with the aim of providing an environment conducive to the dissemination, development and secure use of the NICTs.


Global Centre on ICT in Parliament

The Global Centre on ICT in Parliament is a joint initiative of IPU and the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs that was launched in November 2005. Its objectives are to:
red cubeFoster the introduction of ICT in parliaments to increase transparency and effectiveness and strengthen their central role as promoters of good governance and democracy
red cubeReinforce the role of parliaments in establishing the legislative frameworks required for the development of sustainable ICT policies and an inclusive Information Society
red cubeIncrease citizens' access to parliaments activities and documentation, thereby improving openness and accountability in legislatures
red cubeFind new modalities of coordination between the international community and parliaments in supporting ICT-related initiatives, both in their research and operational aspects

The Global Centre acts as a clearing house for information and research on the use of ICT in parliament, and promotes a structured dialogue among parliaments and other organizations, in order to enhance the sharing of experiences, the identification of good practices and the implementation of appropriate solutions.

World e-Parliament Conference
red cube 2009
The World e-Parliament Conference - the annual forum on how ICT can help to strengthen parliaments - met in Washington D.C. from 3 to 5 November 2009, hosted by Ms. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. It brought together four hundred elected members and staff of ninety-five parliaments. In his opening remarks, IPU Secretary General Anders B. Johnsson drew attention to the gulf that separates public aspirations for democratic governance and vigorous public debate, and the widely-held perception of political life as a closed space where there is little room for dissent and real consideration of alternative policy options. As noted in the outcome of the conference, ICTs may hold some of the solutions, especially where young people are concerned, since information technology is pervasive in many young people’s lives in a way that formal politics is not.
red cube 2008
The World e-Parliament Conference 2008 took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 25 and 26 November 2008. It was co-organized by the European Parliament, the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament and the United Nations. A video report of the Conference is accesible on YouTube. In his keynote address to the inaugural session of the conference, IPU Secretary General Anders B. Johnsson emphasised that better access to information will help citizens to press for resolution of some of the major challenges facing democracy, such as male domination of public life, corruption and the lack of media pluralism.
red cube 2007
The World e-Parliament Conference (Geneva, 11 October 2007) was an expert forum on the use of new technologies to modernize parliamentary processes and improve parliamentary dialogue with citizens. It offers an opportunity to debate the challenges and benefits provided by ICT and analyze successful approaches, identify good practices and lessons learned. The Conference was aimed at parliamentarians, Secretaries General and parliamentary staff and officials who work with ICT, such as legislative staff, IT administrators, knowledge managers and librarians. The Conference was preceded by an International workshop on managing innovation in parliament, organized by the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament. It was followed by the first face-to-face meeting of members of the Global Network of IT Experts in Parliament.

World e-Parliament Report

red cube 2010
The World e-Parliament Report intends to help legislatures to harness the potential benefits of ICT for their work and establish key goals and priorities for exploiting this valuable resource. The findings presented in the 2010 edition are based on data from 134 parliamentary assemblies. While providing evidence of the complexities of e-parliament, the Report suggests ways to overcome some of the obstacles to the effective use of technology in parliamentary settings. The Report was prepared by the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament and published by the IPU and the United Nations.
red cube 2008
The World e-Parliament Report 2008 represents a first effort to establish a baseline of how parliaments are using, or planning to use ICT to help them fulfill their responsibilities and to connect to their constituencies. The Report is based on the responses and comments provided by 105 assemblies from around the world to a survey on the use of ICT in parliament conducted between July and November 2007. The World e-Parliament Report 2008 is a joint product of UNDESA, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament.

The Report concludes that approximately 10 per cent of the chambers and parliaments that replied to the survey have acquired extensive ICT capabilities across a wide range of key application areas. These include developing systems for managing essential documents, utilizing open document standards, creating rich websites that present information through a variety of formats and channels, and providing access to a wide range of online information linked to pending legislation.

At the other end of the spectrum, many parliaments lack a strategic plan, an adequate ICT infrastructure, basic tools for members and staff, systems for managing documents and trained ICT staff. The status of the ICT systems and services of those parliaments that fall between these two groups is uneven. Many of them have implemented ICT applications that serve some of their most important functions. But many of these applications appear to be operating at the lowest level of utility and have not been enhanced to take greater advantage of ICT to improve efficiency and effectiveness, or to offer additional services.


Guidelines for parliamentary web sites

The Guidelines published by IPU in 2000 helped many parliaments to set up or develop their website. Now almost every parliament in the world is present online. Today's challenge is to make the most effective use of the Internet to enhance the relation between parliaments and citizens. The new edition of the Guidelines offers guidance on how to use the key elements of a successful website – content, tools, design, management – in the parliamentary context. The revised Guidelines take into account changes in technology and lessons learned since 2000, and have been prepared in cooperation with the United Nations and the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament.

World Summit on the Information Society

Parliamentary meetings took place the occasion of both phases of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
red cubeParliamentary panel on the occasion of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, Tunis (Tunisia), 17 November 2005
red cubeParliamentary Panel within the framework of the World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva (Switzerland), 11 December 2003

As part of the follow-up to WSIS, IPU and UNDESA are co-facilitators of the Sub-group on Parliament and ICT under Action Line C1, "The role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICT for development." The Sub-group meets annually to examine parliamentary participation in the follow-up to WSIS.
red cubeStatement before the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development, Geneva (Switzerland), 27 May 2008
red cubeConsultation meeting "Parliaments in the Information Age: mobilizing stakeholders around concrete initiatives", Geneva (Switzerland), 24 May 2007
red cubeStatement before the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development, Geneva (Switzerland), 21 May 2007
red cubeMulti-stakeholder meeting on Parliaments and the Information Society: Enhancing Cooperation and Building Partnerships, Geneva (Switzerland), 17 May 2006

Resolutions of the IPU Assembly

The 109th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (Geneva, October 2003) adopted a resolution on The contribution of new information and communication technologies to good governance, the improvement of parliamentary democracy and the management of globalisation.

Technical assistance to parliaments

Many of IPU's projects of technical assistance have an ICT component. Just a few examples include:
red cubeSetting up and developing information services in the Parliament of Ethiopia
red cubeImplementing a document management system in the Assembly of Kosovo
red cubeSupporting the development of a web site in the Chamber of the People's Representatives in Equatorial Guinea