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Common Principles for Support to Parliaments

The Common Principles for Support to Parliaments set out the fundamental principles for planning and implementing programmes to strengthen parliaments. The Common Principles balance the delivery of external technical assistance with the needs and expertise of local actors. They have been widely endorsed by parliaments and international organizations around the world. The Principles were developed in 2014 by a group of parliaments and partners convened by the IPU.

The Common Principles were elaborated with parliamentary and expert partners on the basis of decades of experience in technical assistance. They underline the importance of a holistic and comprehensive approach to technical cooperation which takes into account the institutional, economic, political, and social particularities of a given country.

The Common Principles consist of ten specific principles to guide parliamentary support. They are underpinned by the firm belief that individual parliaments themselves are best suited to both identify areas that need to improve and lead their own capacity-building projects.

These principles promote an approach that respects domestic circumstances and cultural specificities. They also emphasize effective coordination and local knowledge, which paves the way towards more effective recommendations, better policy and ultimately, stronger parliaments.

The IPU produces tools for parliaments and partners to further promote the Common Principles and their use in parliamentary support. As a first step, the IPU has produced an assessment form to track use of the Common Principles. The form will also serve to facilitate monitoring and evaluation of application of the individual Principles, and provide a mechanism to capture good practices.

The Ten Principles

General principle for support to parliaments: Effective parliaments are essential to democracy, the rule of law, human rights, gender equality, and economic and social development. Parliaments require access to excellent technical support to contribute fully in these areas.

Parliamentary support should:

  • Be guided by the needs of parliaments
  • Take account of the social, economic and political contexts of individual parliaments
  • Aim for sustainable outcomes
  • Include all political tendencies
  • Be grounded in international standards
  • Address the needs and potential of women and men equally
  • Use local and regional expertise
  • Use effective coordination and communication
  • Guarantee ethical and responsible conduct by partners

Common Principles in full

Endorsements of the Common Principles
There are 160 endorsements of the Common Principles: 134 national parliaments, 7 parliamentary assemblies and 19 partner organizations.