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


A floating boat school in Bangladesh. Abir Abdullah / Climate Visuals Countdown

The COVID-19 pandemic. The war in Ukraine. The triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Recent events – some that could have been foreseen, others that took the world by surprise – have revealed the fragility of the world’s existing governance structures. The rapid evolution of artificial intelligence is also likely to revolutionize the way we live.

But could the world be better prepared for future challenges? And what role could parliaments play?

The concept of anticipatory governance — a system that integrates a future-literate analysis into today’s decision-making — is gaining traction. Parliamentarians and policymakers increasingly recognize that this future-oriented approach could open up alternatives, create opportunities and minimize threats today and for generations to come.

This is the context in which Parliament of Uruguay and the IPU are convening parliamentarians from all over the world to the Second World Summit of the Committees of the Future, with the theme Bringing the future into the present: The democracy of the future, artificial intelligence and parliaments. 

Parliaments and parliamentarians play a critical role in ensuring that anticipatory governance is embedded throughout the entire parliamentary governance architecture, guiding policy and legislation oversight as well as decision-making. The Summit will strengthen the role and integration of future thinking in parliamentary practice, placing particular emphasis on artificial intelligence and its relation to democracy.

The Summit will be held in Montevideo, Uruguay from 25 to 27 September 2023. It will bring together members of the Committees of the Future — from parliaments who have already embedded specific structures dealing with the future into their decision-making — as well as members of parliaments looking to adopt such an approach. Since the phenomena driving the future development of countries are often global in nature, the event will provide an important opportunity for inter-parliamentary dialogue that could help decision makers around the world identify shared emerging challenges and common interests.

Over the three days of the Summit, sessions will look at topics including existing progress being made by parliaments when it comes to integrating the future into their work, and common challenges encountered throughout that process; the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence and its relationship with democracy; and the active role of parliaments in shaping the future of democracy, with a specific focus on regulatory frameworks, collaboration and global cooperation.

The programme for the Summit is made up of five expert-led plenary sessions, which will include opportunities for open Q&As. It will also include interactive workshops, giving participants a chance to work in small peer groups and delve deeper into the required changes needed in parliament to future-proof MPs’ daily work. The working languages will be Arabic, English, French and Spanish.

The Summit will continue and build on the work started at the First World Summit, held in Helsinki in 2022, where participating parliamentarians recognized the fundamental importance of incorporating the future into present decision-making. The unprecedented pace of change we are witnessing around the world creates challenges, risks and opportunities. 

The outcome of the Summit is also expected to feed into the UN Summit for the Future planned for September 2024.

Register by 12 September 2023 for the Second World Summit of the Committees of the Future