Inter-Parliamentary UnionIPU Logo-top
    Press ReleaseIPU Logo-middle
No.145, New York / Geneva, 19 November 2002 IPU Logo-bottom


The United Nations General Assembly granted observer status to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) today. "This decision represents an important milestone in the evolving relationship between the world organisation of national parliaments and the United Nations. Both our Organisations were created to promote peace, security and the welfare of all nations. The IPU saw its origins in the peace movement of the late 19th century. It is founded on a very simple principle that retains all its validity today, which is that problems confronting States should be solved through dialogue and communication, not through arms or the threat of war", said the President of the IPU Council, Chilean Senator Sergio Páez.

In today's world, where most salient national issues extend well beyond national borders, Parliaments have no other choice than to contribute much more actively to international cooperation, added Senator Páez.

At the same time as the General Assembly was in session, more than 120 MPs from 34 countries and three regional assemblies participated today in the UN/IPU Meeting of parliamentarians attending the 57th session of the UN General Assembly. They engaged in a dialogue with senior UN officials on major issues facing the United Nations.

Addressing the opening ceremony, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Jan Kavan, expressed his appreciation for the cooperation between the IPU and the United Nations. "The 57th session of the General Assembly should be a new milestone in the cooperation between the UN and the IPU" he declared. "The world is still far from the goal of lasting peace, which was the main objective of the IPU founders more than a hundred years ago and which inspired also the founders of the United Nations. The world is, moreover, still struggling against poverty and underdevelopment, diseases, environmental degradation, unequal distribution of resources, human rights abuses and several other problems. None of the these problems has a simple solution but all require the cooperation of the people of good will who might contribute to tackle them. The role of parliamentarians in the endeavour is crucial", he concluded.

Sir Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, read a message to the participants from the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in which he recalled IPUís substantive contribution to the work of the United Nations. He stated "the IPU has seized the opportunity to support the efforts of the international community Ė not least by familiarizing parliamentarians with the work of the United Nations and how it relates to the needs of their constituencies. That activity has brought us to the eve of the vote by the General Assembly to grant observer status to the IPU. I look forward to this action, which will usher in a new era in our relationship that will benefit both our organizations".

Established in 1889 and with its Headquarters in Geneva, the IPU, the oldest multilateral organisation, currently has 144 affiliated national parliaments and five regional assemblies as associate members. The organisation of the world's parliaments also has a Liaison Office with the United Nations in New York.
Other press releases More information

In New York: Mr. Alessandro Motter. IPU Liaison Office with the UN.
Tel. +1212 557 58 80
Fax: +1212 557 39 54

In Geneva: Mrs. Luisa Ballin, IPU Information Officer
Tel. +4122 919 41 16/27
Fax: +4122 919 41 60, 919 41 97
E-mail: or