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The Swiss National Council © The Swiss Parliament

Strong parliaments

We help strengthen parliaments to make them more effective and representative.
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
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.
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.
Contact us for more information on how we can support your parliament
Latest news and stories on strong parliaments
News in brief
Australian senate

IPU supporting parliaments during pandemic

During the COVID-19 global health emergency, Parliaments have a vital role to play in supporting national efforts to stem the pandemic and in mobilizing the resources to implement the health measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). They are
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News in brief
Seminar in Myanmar

Parliaments for peace: IPU seminar in Myanmar

A strong and representative parliament can make all the difference in building peace and fostering reconciliation in post-conflict situations. As part of its long-standing work in strengthening the Myanmar Parliament (the Hluttaw), the IPU and the parliament organized a three-day
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News in brief
Training in Myanmar

A new guide to the Common Principles

The IPU has just published Putting parliamentary self-development into practice: A Guide to the Common Principles for Support to Parliaments . As the global organization of national parliaments, one of the IPU’s core functions is to strengthen parliaments. The Common
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News in brief
MPs at 140 IPU Assembly

Over 30 per cent of parliaments surveyed pass new legislation thanks to IPU

In a recent survey of IPU Member Parliaments, 31 per cent of respondents confirmed that new legislation had been put in place as a direct result of IPU assemblies, programmes, initiatives and resolutions. Of the sample, 75 per cent also
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IPU President and Secretary General

130 years after the foundation of the IPU, the struggle for democracy continues

An end-of-year message from IPU leadership. We should never take democracy for granted. Many of our parents and grandparents fought for it in the Second World War and in battles for independence from colonial rule. In the 1990s we celebrated
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Strong parliaments
Latest publications on strong parliaments
This new guide accompanies the IPU flagship publication Common Principles for Support to Parliaments.
The World e-Parliament Report is designed to help parliaments harness the power of new technology to become better and stronger institutions.
The second Global Parliamentary Report shines the spotlight on one of parliament’s critical functions: its power to hold governments to account for their actions.
Strong parliaments
Related events

San José
Costa Rica

The seminar is for parliamentary staff who serve as Secretaries of IPU Groups within Member Parliaments.
Nov 27 2019

Fourteenth Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians


United Kingdom

The Fourteenth Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians is organized by the Centre for Legislative Studies of the University of Hull. The workshop aims to bring together scholars and parliamentarians to discuss research findings which are likely to be of
Jul 27 2019


“Innovation” will be the theme running through the 2018 World e-Parliament Conference. The policy track will examine the impact of new tools on the job of a parliamentarian and on the institution of parliament.
Dec 03 2018
Strong parliaments