Every year during the fall session of the General Assembly the IPU organises a Parliamentary Hearing as an opportunity for members of parliaments to exchange views with United Nations officials, representatives of United Nations diplomatic community, as well as scholars and leading academics. The meeting is usually opened by the United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the IPU. Hundreds of parliamentarians from every region of the world participate.
Originally designed as a briefing session on a variety of topics, the meeting has evolved over the past few years into a substantive and interactive debate on the main issues of the international agenda. The conclusions and recommendations of the Hearing provide a parliamentary input into the work of the relevant bodies of the United Nations. The role of the Parliamentary Hearing as "a regular feature of the programme of events held at United Nations Headquarters on the occasion of the sessions of the General Assembly" was highlighted in a resolution of the General Assembly.
The annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations is organised in close cooperation with the relevant United Nations Departments, which also assist in the preparation of substantive background notes on the issues under consideration, with a particular focus on their parliamentary dimension. The debates therefore serve two main purposes: to help parliamentarians better understand United Nations decision-making processes and the status of negotiations on a variety of issues; and, conversely, to make it possible for parliamentarians from a large number of countries to take a fresh look at the questions on the table and convey to United Nations Member States their views born out of their own national and local experiences.