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Second Global Parliamentary Report
Parliament's power to hold government to account: Realities and perspectives on oversight

The Global Parliamentary Report (GPR) aims to stimulate discussion and change in parliaments, leading to better parliaments and stronger democracies.

With continuing evidence of the fragility of democracy, the time is ripe to closely examine a fundamental principle of relevance to all parliaments – parliament’s power to hold government to account. Parliamentary oversight is highly topical. It is of considerable importance to democracy and to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This page will help members of the parliamentary community, and other interested parties, engage with and provide input to the second GPR in the course of its production. Calls for submissions, content outlines and progress reports will be posted here. The report is scheduled for publication in late 2016.

Current opportunities to participate

  • Multi-stakeholder focus groups: Guidance note for UNDP Country Offices and Regional Hubs PDF [English]

Theme of the report
Oversight of government is a major function of parliament, which has grown in importance in response to the growth in the power of the executive. From a citizen’s perspective, it is important that the elected body can exert control on the executive and hold it accountable. Yet, while public demand for oversight has been increasing for nearly all legislatures, there are enormous differences among parliaments in how, and how effectively, they exercise oversight.

Thus, it is time to take stock of parliamentary capacity to hold government to account and to sketch out perspectives for the future. The second GPR will analyse the conditions for effective oversight, highlight potential shortcomings and propose improvements. It will investigate how effective parliaments are in their oversight functions, shed light on the factors that can either support or inhibit oversight, and make practical recommendations to stimulate improvement.

The report will draw on extensive quantitative and qualitative research, drawn from a wide range of documentary and statistical sources and extensive interviews with parliamentarians and other stakeholders. Research will focus around two central questions:

  • How effective is parliament in carrying out its constitutional role to hold government to account?
  • How could it become more so?

The research will mainstream a gender perspective and will take different contexts into account: post-conflict and fragile states; democratic transitions; Small Island Developing States; decentralized systems. The report will address, for example, budgetary oversight, oversight of policy performance in different areas, oversight of international obligations and oversight of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The report will make recommendations targeted to different stakeholders, which will focus on practical ways to:

  • improve the environment in which parliamentary oversight takes place
  • build parliament’s institutional capacity for oversight
  • reinforce political will among parliamentarians to carry out oversight activities
  • increase the effectiveness of parliamentary oversight.

Implementation of the recommendations will be tracked and measured over time.

The GPR is produced by the IPU and UNDP with extensive input from the world’s parliaments, parliamentarians and the wider parliamentary community. The first GPR, produced in 2012, examined the changing nature of parliamentary representation.


For further information, please contact gpr@ipu.org

Multi-stakeholder focus groups: Guidance note for UNDP Country Offices and Regional Hubs (March 2016)PDF [English]
Questionnaire for parliaments (November 2015)Word [English] [French] [Spanish]
   PDF [English] [French] [Spanish]
Guidelines for completing the Questionnaire for parliamentsPDF [English] [French] [Spanish]
Survey of parliamentarians (November 2015)Word [English] [French] [Spanish]
Call for written input (October 2015)Word [English] [French] [Spanish]
   PDF [English] [French] [Spanish]
Letter to parliaments (October 2015)Word [English] [French] [Spanish]
Report on the Parity debate on Parliamentary oversight and political will (October 2015)PDF [English] [French]
Report on the panel discussion on Powerful parliaments: building capacity for effective parliamentary oversight (October 2015)PDF [English] [French]
Report of the panel on Parliamentary oversight: Challenges and opportunities at the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament (September 2015)PDF [English] [French]
Report of the second expert meeting on the second Global Parliamentary Report (February 2016)PDF [English]
Report of the first expert meeting on the second Global Parliamentary Report (June 2015)PDF [English] [French]
About the second Global Parliamentary ReportWord [English] [French] [Spanish]
First Global Parliamentary Report
UNDP Inclusive political processes

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