Inter-Parliamentary Union

Inter-Parliamentary Union

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The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is an international organization established in 1889 by William Randal Cremer
William Randal Cremer
Sir William Randal Cremer usually known by his middle name "Randal", was an English Liberal Member of Parliament and pacifist....

 (United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

) and Frédéric Passy
Frédéric Passy
Frédéric Passy was a French economist and a joint winner of the first Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1901.- Biography :...

 (France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

). It was the first permanent forum for political multilateral negotiations. Initially, the organization was for individual parliamentarians
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

, but has since transformed into an international organization of the parliaments of sovereign states. The national parliaments of 157 countries are members of the IPU, and nine regional parliamentary assemblies are associate members. The IPU has permanent observer status at the United Nations.

History


Leading personalities of the IPU have received eight Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

s:
  • 1901: Frédéric Passy
    Frédéric Passy
    Frédéric Passy was a French economist and a joint winner of the first Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1901.- Biography :...

     (France)
  • 1902: Albert Gobat (Switzerland)
  • 1903: William Randal Cremer
    William Randal Cremer
    Sir William Randal Cremer usually known by his middle name "Randal", was an English Liberal Member of Parliament and pacifist....

     (United Kingdom)
  • 1908: Fredrik Bajer
    Fredrik Bajer
    Fredrik Bajer was a Danish writer, teacher, and pacifist politician who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1908....

     (Denmark)
  • 1909: August Marie Francois Beernaert (Belgium)
  • 1913: Henri La Fontaine
    Henri La Fontaine
    Henri La Fontaine , was a Belgian international lawyer and president of the International Peace Bureau. He received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1913.-Biography:...

     (Belgium)
  • 1921: Christian Lange
    Christian Lous Lange
    Christian Lous Lange was a Norwegian historian, teacher, and political scientist. He was one of the world's foremost exponents of the theory and practice of internationalism....

     (Norway)
  • 1927: Ferdinand Buisson
    Ferdinand Buisson
    Ferdinand Édouard Buisson was a French academic, educational bureaucrat, pacifist and Socialist politician...

     (France)


The organisation's initial objective was the arbitration of conflicts. The IPU played an important part in setting up the Permanent Court of Arbitration
Permanent Court of Arbitration
The Permanent Court of Arbitration , is an international organization based in The Hague in the Netherlands.-History:The court was established in 1899 as one of the acts of the first Hague Peace Conference, which makes it the oldest institution for international dispute resolution.The creation of...

 in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

. Over time, its mission has evolved towards the promotion of democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 and inter-parliamentary dialogue. The IPU has worked for establishment of institutions at the inter-governmental level, including the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, an organization with which it cooperates and with which it has permanent observer status.
Numerous bodies have expressed interest in the possibility of transforming the IPU into a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is a proposed addition to the United Nations System that would allow for participation of member nations' legislators and, eventually, direct election of United Nations parliament members by citizens worldwide...

, among them the Committee for a Democratic UN
Committee for a Democratic UN
The Committee for a Democratic UN, or KDUN , is a nongovernmental organization based in Berlin and founded in 2003 that advocates the "democratization and strengthening of the United Nations and other international organizations" .-Goal:KDUN's mandate includes the goal "to facilitate a cosmopolitan...

, the German Bundestag and the Socialist International
Socialist International
The Socialist International is a worldwide organization of democratic socialist, social democratic and labour political parties. It was formed in 1951.- History :...

. The Liberal International
Liberal International
Liberal International is a political international federation for liberal parties. Its headquarters is located at 1 Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2HD within the National Liberal Club. It was founded in Oxford in 1947, and has become the pre-eminent network for liberal parties and for the...

 also considers this as an option.

The headquarters of the union have been moved several times since its inception.
Locations:
  • 1892–1911: Bern (Switzerland)
  • 1911–1914: Brussels
    Brussels
    Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

     (Belgium)
  • 1914–1920: Oslo
    Oslo
    Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

     (Norway)
  • 1921 – permanent in Geneva
    Geneva
    Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

     (Switzerland)

Members

  • International parliamentary assemblies may be admitted by the Governing Council as Associate Members
  • Every Parliament constituted in conformity with the laws of a sovereign State whose population it represents and on whose territory it functions may request affiliation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The decision to admit or readmit a Parliament shall be taken by the Governing Council.


It is the duty of the Members of the Union to submit the resolutions of the Union within their respective Parliament, in the most appropriate form; to communicate them to the Government; to stimulate their implementation and to inform the Secretariat of the Union, as often and fully as possible, particularly in its annual reports, as to the steps taken and the results obtained.

Associate members
The participating parliamentary assemblies
Parliamentary assembly
A parliamentary assembly can mean one of the following:*National Parliament, a type of state legislative assembly body*Assembly of national parliaments, an inter-parliamentary institution of state national legislatures...

 other than national parliaments are the following:
Name Related organization
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe , which held its first session in Strasbourg on 10 August 1949, can be considered the oldest international parliamentary assembly with a pluralistic composition of democratically elected members of parliament established on the basis of an...

CoE
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

Latin American Parliament
Latin American Parliament
The Latin American Parliament , is a regional, permanent organization composed by the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a consultative assembly similar to the early European Parliament...

none Multiple regional organizations in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

 such as the Rio Group
Rio Group
- List of Summit meetings :- See also :* Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, possible successor of the Rio Group* Union of South American Nations...

, Latin American Economic System
Latin American Economic System
The Latin American and the Caribbean Economic System, officially known as Sistema Económico Latinoamericano y del Caribe , is an organization founded in 1975 to promote economic cooperation and social development between Latin American and the Caribbean countries...

 and Latin American Integration Association
Latin American Integration Association
The Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración is a Latin American trade integration association, based in Montevideo. Its main objective is the establishment of a common market, in pursuit of the economic and social development of the region...

 have similar membership.
Andean Parliament CAN
Central American Parliament
Central American Parliament
The Central American Parliament , also known as PARLACEN is a political institution devoted to the integration of the Central American countries. Its headquarters are in Guatemala City....

SICA
Central American Integration System
Central American Integration System is the economic, cultural and political organization of Central American states since February 1, 1993. It was on December 13, 1991, however, when all the countries of the ODECA signed the Protocol of Tegucigalpa which extended the earlier cooperation in search...

East African Legislative Assembly
East African Legislative Assembly
The East African Legislative Assembly is a sub organ of the larger East African Community, being the Legislative arm of the Community. Members are sworn in to five-year terms.-History:...

EAC
East African Community
The East African Community is an intergovernmental organisation comprising the five east African countries Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Pierre Nkurunziza, the President of the Republic of Burundi, is the current Chairman of the East African Community. The EAC was originally...

Transitional Arab Parliament AL
Inter-Parliamentary Committee of the West African Economic and Monetary Union UEMOA
Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS
Economic Community of West African States
The Economic Community of West African States is a regional group of fifteen West African countries. Founded on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, its mission is to promote economic integration across the region....


Organs


The organs of the Inter-Parliamentary Union are:
  • the Assembly, meets twice a year. The Assembly shall be composed of parliamentarians designated as delegates by the Members of the Union. The Assembly is assisted in its work by Standing Committees, whose number and terms of reference are determined by the Governing Council; Standing Committees shall normally prepare reports and draft resolutions for the Assembly. No one delegate may record more than ten votes.

  • the Governing Council. The Governing Council shall normally hold two sessions a year. The Governing Council shall be composed of three representatives from each Member of the Union. The term of office of a member of the Governing Council shall last from one Assembly to the next and all the members of the Governing Council must be sitting members of Parliament. The Governing Council shall elect the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union for a period of three years. It elects the members of the Executive Committee and appoints the Secretary General of the Union.

  • the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall be composed of the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, fifteen members belonging to different Parliaments (elected by the Governing Council; not less than twelve shall be elected from among the members of the Governing Council) and the President of the Coordinating Committee of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians. The fifteen elected seats will be assigned to the geopolitical groups. Only parliamentarians from States where women have both the right to vote and the right to stand for election are eligible to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall be the administrative organ of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

  • and the Secretariat. The Secretariat of the Union comprises the totality of the staff of the organisation under the direction of the Secretary General of the Union.


The Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments shall be a consultative body of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Elected to posts

  • President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is Mr. Abdelwahad Radi (Morocco), elected to this post for a three-year mandate on 19 October 2011 at the 189th session of the Governing Council of the IPU in Geneva.
  • Secretary General of the Union: Mr. Anders B. Johnsson
    Anders B. Johnsson
    Anders B. Johnsson is a Swedish jurist, the current Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union .- Biography :Johnsson was born in Lund, Sweden...

     (Sweden), elected to this post in 1998 for an initial four year mandate. He has since been re-elected twice and is currently serving his third term.
  • Standing Committee on democracy and human rights
    Human rights
    Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

    . President: Mr. E. Rodriguez Zavaleta (Peru), Latin American Group.
  • Committee on human rights of parliamentarians. President: Ms. S. Carstairs (Canada), expiry of term  April 2011.
  • On April 17, 2008, Senator
    Senate of the Philippines
    The Senate of the Philippines is the upper chamber of the bicameral legislature of the Philippines, the Congress of the Philippines...

     Pia Cayetano (Philippines) was elected for a two-year term, president of the Committee of Women Parliamentarians of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) during its 118th General Assembly in Cape Town
    Cape Town
    Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

    , South Africa
    South Africa
    The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

    . As the first Filipino and Asian to head it, she ran unopposed and takes over from Uruguay
    Uruguay
    Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

    's Monica Xavier.

Amendments to the Statutes


Any proposal to amend the Statutes shall be submitted in writing to the Secretariat of the Union at least three months before the meeting of the Assembly. The Secretariat will immediately communicate all such proposals to the Members of the Union. The consideration of such proposed amendments shall be automatically placed on the agenda of the Assembly.

Any sub-amendments shall be submitted in writing to the Secretariat of the Union at least six weeks before the meeting of the Assembly. The Secretariat will immediately communicate all such sub-amendments to the Members of the Union.

After hearing the opinion of the Governing Council, expressed through a simple majority vote, the Assembly shall decide on such proposals by a two-thirds majority vote.

The IPU and the United Nations


The IPU marked the 50th anniversary of the United Nations by holding a special session in the General Assembly Hall
United Nations headquarters
The headquarters of the United Nations is a complex in New York City. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River...

 before the start of the session, where they planned for closer cooperation with the United Nations. The General Assembly Resolution
United Nations General Assembly Resolution
A United Nations General Assembly Resolution is voted on by all member states of the United Nations in the General Assembly.General Assembly resolutions usually require a simple majority to pass...

 passed during that session requested the Secretary-General to put this into action. An agreement was signed between the IPU and the Secretary-General on 24 July 1996 and subsequently ratified by a General Assembly Resolution, where the United Nations recognizes IPU as the world organization of parliaments. Pursuant to this resolution, the Secretary-General submitted a report which was noted with appreciation by the General Assembly, who requested further strengthening of cooperation and another report. This report detailed the measures that had been taken, including opening a liaison office in New York, and cooperation on issues such land-mines and the promotion of representative democracy. Following an entire morning of debate the General Assembly passed a resolution which simply stated that it "looks forward to continued close cooperation".

The following year (1999) the Secretary-General reported on an increased number of areas of cooperation, the issue was debated for an entire afternoon (interrupted by a minute of silence held for tribute to Vazgen Sargsyan, the Prime Minister of Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 who had just at that time been killed by gunmen
1999 Armenian parliament shooting
The 1999 Armenian parliament shooting was an attack on the Armenian parliament in the capital Yerevan on October 27, 1999 at 5:15 p.m, by a group of armed men that killed the Prime Minister of Armenia and 7 other high ranking officials.-Shooting:...

), and passed a resolution requesting the IPU be allowed to address the Millennium General Assembly directly.

Following another report, and another half-day debate, the General Assembly welcomed the IPU declaration entitled "The Parliamentary vision for international cooperation at the dawn of the third millennium" and called for the Secretary-General to explore new and further ways in which the relationship could be strengthened.

On 19 November 2002 the IPU was granted observer status
United Nations General Assembly observers
In addition to the current 193 member states, the United Nations welcomes many international organizations, entities, and non-member states as observers. Observer status is granted by a United Nations General Assembly resolution...

 to the General Assembly.

In the Resolution 59/19, Cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the UN General Assembly takes note of the recommendations in regard to engaging parliamentarians more systematically in the work of
the United Nations.

The final declaration of the Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, hosted at United Nations headquarters, took place in September 2005, was entitled Bridging the democracy gap in international relations: A stronger role for parliament.

In the Resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly, 61/6, Cooperation between the United Nations and the
Inter-Parliamentary Union, in 27 November 2006, it calls for the further development of the annual parliamentary hearing at the United Nations and other specialized parliamentary meetings in the context of major United Nations meetings as joint United Nations-Inter-Parliamentary Union events.

Every year during the fall session of the General Assembly the IPU organises a Parliamentary Hearing. A resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU allowed for circulation of official IPU documents in the General Assembly.

UN and the IPU cooperate closely in various fields, in particular peace and security, economic and social development, international law, human rights, and democracy and gender issues, but IPU has not obtained the status of UN General Assembly subsidiary organ.

United Nations Reports, Resolutions and Agreements

  • Resolution of the United Nations: Cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 27 November 2006.
  • Report of the United Nations Secretary-General: Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations, 16 August 2006.
  • Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly: Cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 8 November 2004.
  • Report of the United Nations Secretary-General: Cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (see Part 5 of the Annex), 1 September 2004.
  • Resolution adopted by the General Assembly: Cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 21 November 2002.
  • Resolution adopted by the General Assembly: Observer status for the Inter-Parliamentary Union in the General Assembly, 19 November 2002 .
  • Report of the United Nations Secretary-General: Cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 3 September 2002.
  • Cooperation Agreement between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union of 1996

See also

  • Inter-parliamentary institution
    Inter-parliamentary institution
    An inter-parliamentary institution is an organization of more than one national legislatures ....

  • e-parliament
    E-Parliament
    The e-Parliament is a non-profit organization that links together the world's democratic members of parliament and congress into a single forum...

  • Global democracy
    Global democracy
    Global democracy may lie in the scope of:* Cosmopolitan democracy, a project of normative political theory which explores the application of norms and values of democracy at different levels, from global to local...

  • Third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament
    Third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament
    The Third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament held at Geneva between 19th to 21st July 2010. The 3rd World Conference of Speakers of Parliament closed with the adoption of a declaration on the need to secure global democratic accountability...

  • United Nations Democracy Fund
    United Nations Democracy Fund
    The United Nations Democracy Fund was established by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July 2005 at the African Union Summit in Sirte, Libya, as a United Nations General Trust Fund under his authority. Its primary purpose is to support democratization throughout the world...

  • United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
    United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
    A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is a proposed addition to the United Nations System that would allow for participation of member nations' legislators and, eventually, direct election of United Nations parliament members by citizens worldwide...

  • United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
    United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
    The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs is part of the United Nations Secretariat and is responsible for the follow-up to the major United Nations Summits and Conferences, as well as services to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the Second and Third Committees...

    (UNDESA)

External links