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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
Press releases
eparl cover

New IPU report: COVID-19 has accelerated modernization of parliaments

The new edition of the IPU World e-Parliament Report reveals how the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for parliaments, with many embracing new technology to modernize and, as a result, engaging better with the people they represent.
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News in brief

The world when the IPU began

The Inter-Parliamentary Conference for International Arbitration – later called the Inter‑Parliamentary Union – was officially born on 30 June 1889. Its foundation was driven by two remarkable parliamentarians – William Randal Cremer, a British MP and Frédéric Passy, a French MP – who were driven by a passion for international mediation as a means to resolve conflict. It was against a background of challenging international conflicts that demanded a platform for dialogue that the British and French founders created the organization to provide a place for countries to negotiate and arbitrate, instead of clash and conflict.
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Press releases

Focus on youth for International Day of Parliamentarism

On 30 June, the IPU and its Member Parliaments will mark the International Day of Parliamentarism with a number of events focusing on youth empowerment following the recent launch of the IPU campaign I Say Yes to Youth in Parliament!
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News in brief
 © Sanghiya Sansad

7 things you might not know about parliaments

Which is the oldest parliament in the world? And the newest? Which chambers have the most women parliamentarians? And how many parliamentarians are there in the world? Watch this 1-minute video to find out more about parliaments on International Day
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Beatriz Arigmòn

A conversation with...Beatriz Argimòn, MP, Uruguay

As part of a new IPU series called 'A conversation with...', we interview parliamentarians from all over the world to find out who they represent and what motivates them. In this edition, we discover Beatriz Argimòn, President of the General
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Strong parliaments
Latest publications on strong parliaments
The World e-Parliament Report 2020 documents the experiences, innovations and lessons learned in making sure parliaments continued to function during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is based on data from 116 parliaments and focus groups involving 49 parliaments.
This comparative research paper looks at the governance of parliamentary administrations. Parliamentary administrations – responsible for providing the organizational, day-to-day, budgetary and technical functions of parliaments – play a key role in effective functioning of parliaments by offering administrative expertise
The Guidelines seek to provide parliaments and parliamentarians and those who work with them with a common understanding of development cooperation and offer ideas on what they can do to promote more effective and accountable use of aid in particular
Strong parliaments
Related events

Speakers’ Summit (P20) on the occasion of the G20



Oct 07 2021
IPU Partnership Event
UN Chamber Music Society Virtual Concert in Celebration of International Day of Parliamentarism and the Foundation of the IPU in 1889. 9:00am EDT
Jun 30 2021
Virtual event
The World e-Parliament Conference is the leading international forum for exchanging good practices and building inter-parliamentary cooperation in the area of innovation and digital technology in parliaments.
Jun 16 2021
Strong parliaments