The Inter-Parliamentary Union
:L'Union Interparlementaire (UIP)
) is an international organization established in 1889 by William Randal Cremer
) and Frédéric Passy
). It was the first permanent forum for political multilateral negotiations. Initially, the organization was for individual parliamentarians
, but has since transformed into an international organization of the parliaments of sovereign States. 143 national parliaments are members of the IPU, and seven regional parliamentary assemblies are associate members.
Leading personalities of the IPU have received eight Nobel Peace Prizes:
The organisation's initial objective was the arbitration of conflicts. The IPU played an important part in setting up the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Over time, its mission has evolved towards the promotion of democracy and inter-parliamentary dialogue. The IPU has worked for establishment of institutions at the inter-governmental level, including the United Nations, an organization with which it cooperates. The IPU has permanent observer status at the United Nations.
Numerous bodies have expressed interest in the possibility of transforming the IPU into a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, among them the Committee for a Democratic UN, the German Bundestag and the Socialist International. The Liberal International also considers this as an option.
The headquarters of the union have been moved several times since its inception.
- 1892 - 1911: Bern (Switzerland)
- 1911 - 1914: Brussels (Belgium)
- 1914 - 1920: Oslo (Norway)
- 1921 - permanent in Geneva (Switzerland)
Members and organization
- 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.
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. Pier Ferdinando Casini, elected to this post for a three-year mandate on 19 October 2005.
- Secretary General of the Union: Mr. Anders B. Johnsson(Sweden).
- Standing Committee on democracy and human rights. 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 Pia Cayetano was elected for a 2 year term, president of the Committee of Women Parliamentarians of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) during its 118th General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa. As the first Filipino and Asian to head it, she ran unopposed and takes over from Uruguay'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 commemorated the 50th anneversary of the United Nations by holding a special session in the General Assembly Hall before the start of the session, where they planned for closer cooperation with the United Nations. The General Assembly Resolution 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 who had just at that time been killed by gunmen), 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 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 IPA 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