In this section:
Setting standards and guidelines
Strengthening representative institutions
Promoting inclusive parliaments
Promoting and defending human rights
Partnership between men and women
Promoting knowledge of parliaments
International Day of Democracy
Global Parliamentary Report
Guide on parliament and democracy
Key documents
Related sections:
Cooperation with the UN
Peace and security
Sustainable development
What is the IPU?


  Promoting democracy worldwide

Parliament embodies democracy. It is the central institution through which the will of the people is expressed, laws are passed and government is held to account.

For parliament to play its role effectively, it must be elected and must be representative of all components of society. It must have the requisite powers and means to express the will of the people through its law-making and oversight functions. In this way, it can contribute effectively to guaranteeing the people's rights and liberties, securing civil peace and ensuring harmonious development.

It is this principle that underpins the IPU's integrated approach to the promotion of democracy. The IPU's vision of democracy is most clearly expressed in the Universal Declaration on Democracy, adopted by its Member Parliaments in 1997.

Specifically, the Inter-Parliamentary Union works to promote democracy worldwide through a range of programmes and activities:
red cubeSetting standards and guidelines. The IPU plays a key role in the development of generally accepted standards and guidelines relevant to democracy, elections and parliaments.   [ More ... ]
red cubeStrengthening representative institutions. Through its technical assistance programme, the IPU provides advice, guidance and many forms of support to parliaments. The collective expertise of IPU members is a unique asset in the spread of sound democratic practice.   [ More ... ]
red cubePromoting human rights and protecting members of parliament. The IPU aims to assist parliaments to play their role fully in making human rights a reality for everyone. It helps to ensure that parliamentarians understand them and make their promotion and protection a central part of parliamentary work. The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians deals with situations in which parliamentarians, by defending the rights of their constituents, are at risk of abuse.   [ More ... ]
red cubePartnership between men and women in politics. Although the global situation is slowly improving, women still represent less than 20% of the world's parliamentarians. The IPU has taken a global lead on the involvement of women in the parliamentary process, through its work on advocacy, research, statistics and training for women parliamentarians.   [ More ... ]
red cubePromoting knowledge of parliaments. The IPU uses its central position as the world organization of parliaments to collect and disseminate information about the powers, structure and working methods of representative institutions. It also undertakes original research, often in cooperation with Member Parliaments and other partners.   [ More ... ]
red cubeInternational Day of Democracy. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly acknowledged the resilience and universality of the principles of democracy by declaring 15 September the International Day of Democracy. The IPU organizes various activities on that day to highlight the role of parliament as the cornerstone of democracy.   [ More ... ]
red cube Global Parliamentary Report. The first edition of the report will provide an assessment of the state of parliaments worldwide – examining their changing role and the way in which they are responding to the increasingly complex demands of governance, citizens and society.   [ More ... ] New!
red cubeGuide on parliament and democracy in the twenty-first century. Parliaments face many new challenges in their relations with citizens, the media, the executive and in international affairs. The Guide describes the basic objectives or values of a democratic parliament, and provides concrete examples of good practice that demonstrate that democratic change is possible.    [ More ... ]