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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
Press releases

New tool to measure parliaments’ democratic credentials

The IPU and partner organizations have published a new tool called the Indicators for Democratic Parliaments, which offers a new approach to measuring parliamentary capacity, resilience and performance. Using a framework of 25 indicators, parliaments can evaluate their own strengths
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Press releases
National Assembly

IPU Assembly to focus on good governance to address global crises

The 147th IPU Assembly will be held in Luanda, Angola, from 23 to 27 October 2023, hosted by the National Assembly of Angola. The IPU Assembly will provide a platform for parliamentarians, partner organizations and experts to share good practice
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M. Lacroix

AI-3/5: On peace and security, parliaments must keep AI in check

The rapid evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) has prompted many experts to warn about its impacts on democracy. To explore this issue further, the IPU is preparing a series of five articles on the topic. In this third piece, Belgian
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News in brief

Preparing democracy for what’s to come: Committees of the Future

The Second World Summit of the Committees of the Future, organized jointly by the Parliament of Uruguay and the IPU, will bring together parliamentarians from around the world to explore how to integrate tomorrow’s challenges into today’s decision-making.
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News in brief
Climate change

Make democracy work better for the climate

With the summer of 2023 set to be the hottest on record, time is rapidly running out to keep global warming under the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Climate action has become the number one strategic priority for
Read more
Democracy and strong parliaments
Latest publications on strong parliaments
The Indicators for Democratic Parliaments are a comprehensive self-assessment tool designed to help parliaments evaluate their capacity and practice against established democratic standards. They are suitable for all parliaments, regardless of their political system or stage of development. The Indicators
This Guide, published by the IPU in partnership with the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP), is designed to inform and educate parliaments about the challenges and opportunities of using digital tools, and provides them with practical examples and
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
Democracy and strong parliaments
Related events


The Ninth P20 Summit will be hosted by Parliament of India in cooperation with IPU on 13-14 October 2023 in New Delhi.
Oct 12 2023
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
Democracy and strong parliaments