The Secretariat is at the heart of our organization, and carries out our daily work to promote and strengthen democracy across the world. Based on a strong commitment to gender equality in our employment practices, we have around 40 members of staff working either at our headquarters in Geneva or in New York, where we have permanent observer status at the United Nations.
Led by the Secretary General, the Secretariat supports our Member Parliaments to be more effective democratic institutions and to deliver on issues such as peace and security, human rights, sustainable development, gender equality, youth participation, and global governance. It prepares our programme of work and budget aimed at helping us achieve the goals set out in our Strategy, which are then adopted by our Executive Committee and Governing Council.
The Secretariat encourages new requests for affiliation, prepares the issues to be addressed at inter-parliamentary meetings, including our Assemblies and builds relations between us and other international organizations.
Following the UN granting us permanent observer status in November 2002, we opened our New York office. It represents IPU at meetings of UN bodies, coordinates parliamentary hearings and activities at UN headquarters, and engages with other international organizations based in the city. Our New York office is also the main contact between IPU and the US Congress in Washington DC.