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The Swiss National Council © The Swiss Parliament

Democracy and strong parliaments

We support democracy by strengthening parliaments
Swiss National Council

Strong parliaments are the cornerstone of democracy and essential for development. They represent the people, pass laws and hold governments to account. As an organization made up of nearly all the world’s national parliaments, the IPU helps parliaments become more representative, gender-balanced, younger, transparent, accessible, accountable and effective.

To do this, the IPU pools the collective expertise and experience of its Members to establish common standards and guidelines  on parliaments. We encourage parliaments to lead their own development through tools such as our Common Principles for Support to Parliaments.

We also help parliaments harness the power of new technology through the Centre for Innovation in Parliament, a partnership between the IPU and parliaments to develop and share good practices in digital innovation and tools such as social media.

The IPU’s democratic ideals have been enshrined in two important declarations. In 1994, IPU Members adopted the Declaration on Criteria for Free and Fair Elections  followed by the Universal Declaration on Democracy three years later. 

IPU Members also have a dedicated Committee on Democracy and Human Rights  that meets at every Assembly.

Setting standards
Number of national parliaments which have endorsed the Common Principles for Support to Parliaments
Explore strong parliaments
Parliaments should be representative, open, accessible, accountable and effective. Photo © United Nations/CCBY
There are five core values that are applicable to all parliaments, whatever their diverse cultures and traditions. A democratic parliament is one that is representative, open and transparent, accessible, accountable and effective.
We pull together common values and principles of parliaments' work into sets of standards and guidelines that present a vision of democratic parliaments and describe good practices.
We work actively throughout the world to help develop strong, well-functioning parliaments that can rise to modern challenges.
© Chamber of Deputies of Chile
The new Centre for Innovation in Parliament is a partnership between the IPU and parliaments to support parliamentary innovation through improved use of digital tools. The Centre provides a platform for parliaments to develop and share good practices in digital implementation strategies, and practical methods for building capacity.
Parliamentary oversight is extremely important to democracy and to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Photo: © IPU
The Global Parliamentary Report (GPR) is jointly produced by IPU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and draws on input from parliaments worldwide. It analyses the major issues affecting parliamentary practice and identifies current trends and good practices. It also offers policy options for parliaments to respond to current challenges
The Common Principles were elaborated with parliamentary and expert partners on the basis of decades of experience in technical assistance. ©IPU
The Common Principles for Support to Parliaments set out the fundamental principles for planning and implementing programmes to strengthen parliaments.
The International Day of Democracy is celebrated around the world on 15 September each year. Its sister day, the International Day of Parliamentarism, is celebrated worldwide on 30 June.
Latest news and stories on strong parliaments
News in brief
Finnish and NZ MP

Elections in 2023: The ones to watch

2022 was a turbulent year as the world felt the impacts of climate change and a new war in Europe with global repercussions, including a sharp spike in energy and food costs. Nevertheless, democracy pressed on, with scores of elections
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Press releases

Parliaments after the pandemic: New IPU e-Parliament Report

The IPU’s newly released World e-Parliament Report 2022 shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in parliaments and made them more flexible, innovative and resilient. This seventh edition of the report is based on a survey of 123
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Parliament of Brazil

Condemnation of attack on Brazil Congress

The IPU condemns in the strongest possible terms the attacks on the Brazilian Congress and other state institutions on Sunday 8 January. Nearly two years to the day of the assault on the US Congress, the events in Brasilia serve
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Press releases

IPU Member Parliaments commit to accelerating gender equality

Parliamentarians from around the world have adopted the Kigali Declaration Gender equality and gender-sensitive parliaments as drivers of change for a more resilient and peaceful world at the end of the 145th IPU Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda. The Declaration represents
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News in brief

Parliamentary leaders call on G20 to actively engage with parliaments

The Parliament of Indonesia, in cooperation with the IPU, brought together parliamentary leaders from the world’s 20 major economies at the Parliamentary Forum and the Eighth G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit, the ‘P20’, which took place from 5-7 October in Jakarta
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Democracy and strong parliaments
Latest publications on strong parliaments
The 2020 World e-Parliament Report captured a picture of parliaments going through a phase of enforced innovation and learning to rapidly embed new ways of working supported by information and communications technologies (ICT). The research behind this 2022 report set
Information is at the core of the work of parliaments. Services that provide accurate, timely and impartial information are an essential resource for parliamentarians in carrying out their work and informing the decisions they take. This is the role of
The third Global Parliamentary Report examines public engagement in the work of parliament. The information, findings and recommendations in this report set out a road map for enhanced public engagement by parliaments and parliamentarians, working collaboratively with the community to
Democracy and strong parliaments
Related events
Virtual event
This seminar will explore how the New Zealand Parliament’s Education Team provides a wide range of education services and activities for different types of groups such as school students, teachers and public servants.
Feb 21 2023
Virtual event
The central objective of this event is to investigate if, why and how hybrid working is becoming the “new normal” for parliaments.
Jan 25 2023
Virtual event
This seminar will focus on broadcasting parliamentary business. Drawing from the experience of the Irish Oireachtas TV, it will explore different possible models available for parliaments to broadcast and the consequences of these for public engagement.
Jan 10 2023
Democracy and strong parliaments