The main aims of the activities of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) are to promote cooperation between parliaments and members of parliament, to participate in the processes of the ensuring of global peace and security, to protect human rights and to develop representative democracy. Estonia was a member of the Union between 1921-1940 and restored its membership after regaining independence in 1991.
The Estonian delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union or IPU includes all members of the Riigikogu who elect the Board of the delegation.
The Board, which includes the President, who received the most votes from the plenary assembly, and three Vice-Presidents, constitutes the Riigikogu delegation to the IPU. The delegation is formed taking into account the correlation of political forces in the Riigikogu and gender balance.
The aim of the activities of the delegation is to develop interparliamentary relations, and to introduce in international forums the Estonian state and the positions of our state on topical issues.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union was established in 1889. As at 2014, the IPU membership includes the parliaments of 164 countries and ten associate members. Estonia was a member of the IPU between 1921-1940 and restored its membership after regaining independence in October 1991.
The objectives of the activities of the IPU:
- cooperation, exchange of experience and establishment of contacts between parliaments and members of parliament
- joint activities in ensuring peace, security and international cooperation
- protection of human rights
- discussion of issues of international interest and expression of its positions on such issues, in order to direct the activities of parliaments and members of parliament
- cooperation with the UN and supporting its activities in every way
- better informing of the work of representative bodies and expanding their action possibilities
IPU working bodies
The IPU Assembly meets twice a year in order to discuss the issues relating to the objectives of the Union.
The IPU Council meets twice a year within the framework of the Assembly. The Council annually approves the activity plan and budget of the Union, engages in membership issues and designates the time and place of the Assembly, as well as the number and competence areas of the standing committees. There are four standing committees at present: the Committee on Peace and International Security; the Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade; the Committee on Democracy and Human Rights and the UN committee. The Council also forms ad hoc committees and special committees, ensuring geopolitical, geographical and gender balance in them.
The IPU Executive Committee is the administrative body of the Union which supports the IPU Council in the performance of its functions and monitors the activities of the Secretariat as well as the implementation of the decisions of the Assembly or the Council.
The maim aim of the IPU Secretariat is to create the conditions necessary for the achievement of the objectives of the Union. The headquarters of the IPU are in Geneva and the representation is in New York.
The members of the IPU can form geopolitical groups, where the positions of the members are coordinated and current issues are discussed. At present, there are six active geopolitical groups in the IPU:
- the African Group
- the Arab Group
- the Asia-Pacific Group
- the Eurasia Group
- the Latin American Group
- the 12+ Group
Estonia is a member of the 12+ Group together with other European countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP) is a consultative body of the IPU.
English and French are the working languages of the IPU.
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