On 30 June, on the third edition of International Day of Parliamentarism, the IPU concludes its 130th anniversary year with the publication of a book outlining its achievements over the past 13 decades and including contributions from dozens of its Member Parliaments.
The IPU was founded in Paris on 30 June 1889 as the first political multilateral organization in the world, encouraging parliamentary cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Since that first meeting of a small group of parliamentarians from just nine countries, the IPU has grown into the global organization of national parliaments with 179 Member Parliaments and 13 Associate Members.
“The IPU has lived through a century of major wars and humanitarian disasters, and today it has been plunged into one of the most serious global pandemics in history,” said IPU President, Ms. Gabriela Cuevas. “In the midst of this crisis, authoritarian temptations are there for all to see. We must not forget that our institution is founded on the existence and defence of democracy. Our current challenge is therefore even more important: not only to promote and develop democracy, but to return to our roots, not least to combat authoritarianism.”
The anniversary book describes the IPU’s milestones in promoting peace, democracy, human rights, gender equality and parliamentary diplomacy over the past 130 years. It also mentions more recent IPU goals to empower younger parliamentarians and to mobilize parliaments around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The book contains inputs from dozens of the IPU’s Member Parliaments on their contributions to the IPU and parliamentarism as well as their vision for the future development and role of the organization.
“The International Day of Parliamentarism is a timely occasion to honour the pivotal role of Parliaments in giving people a voice and influence to shape policy,” said United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres in a video message. “As a former Parliamentarian, I am deeply conscious of the responsibility and privilege of representing people and delivering on their aspirations. Parliaments have a special duty to advance human rights and promote sustainable development. More than ever, the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of these vital tasks.”
“This pandemic is changing our world beyond recognition,” said IPU Secretary General, Mr. Martin Chungong. “It is hammering our economies, destroying jobs, and exposing our inequalities. And we still have massive challenges to come. How will this crisis affect trade, globalization, and economic production, for example? How will we take care of those who have lost their jobs? As we celebrate the IPU’s anniversary and International Day of Parliamentarism, I remain convinced that parliamentary democracies do a better job of answering those questions than any other system.”
On the day itself, the IPU is also convening a virtual meeting of the Presidents of its most recent and future IPU Assemblies in a “Quintetˮ composed of Mr. Ahmad Bin Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud, Speaker of the Shura Council of Qatar and President of the 140th IPU Assembly in Doha, April 2019; Mr. Mladen Grujic, Serbian MP and Member of the IPU Executive Committee representing Ms. Maja Gojković, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, President of the 141st IPU Assembly in Belgrade, October 2019; Ms. Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of Rwanda, President of a future IPU Assembly in Kigali in 2021; IPU President, Ms. Gabriela Cuevas; and IPU Secretary General, Mr. Martin Chungong.
The “Quintet” will also be joined by the heads of the IPU’s six geopolitical groups as well as representatives of the wider IPU membership to discuss the ongoing relevance of the founding values of the IPU 130 years on, results achieved at the previous Assemblies, and the parliamentary response to the pandemic.
In the past 12 months, Member Parliaments have celebrated the IPU’s 130th anniversary milestone in various ways.
This year, despite the pandemic, IPU Members have also found creative ways to celebrate International Day of Parliamentarism.
The IPU is the global organization of national parliaments. It was founded 130 years ago as the first multilateral political organization in the world, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Today, the IPU comprises 179 national Member Parliaments and 13 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes democracy and helps parliaments become stronger, younger, gender-balanced and more diverse. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of MPs from around the world. Twice a year, the IPU convenes over 1,500 parliamentary delegates and partners in a world assembly, bringing a parliamentary dimension to global governance, including the work of the United Nations and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.