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International Day of Parliamentarism: 30 June

Date: 01 July 2019 Tags: Days & Dates

The International Day of Parliamentarism is celebrated every year on June 30 across the world to recognize important role played by parliaments in national plans and strategies and ensuring greater transparency and accountability at national and global levels.

Purpose of this day: It celebrates importance of parliamentarians, as cornerstone of democracy and as institutions designed to improve lives of people they represent. It provides opportunity for parliaments to identify challenges, and ways to address them effectively.

Background

The International Day of Parliamentarism was instituted by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) through resolution A/RES/72/278 adopted in May 2018 to recognise role of parliaments in national plans and strategies.  This resolution called on UN and its member states to work more closely with parliaments as well as Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on issues relating to human rights, gender equality, health and peace and youth empowerment.

Why June 30? This date coincides with day in 1889, on which Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the global organization of parliaments was founded.

Facts and Figures

Parliaments represent voice of people, enact laws, allocate funds to implement policies and laws and most importantly hold governments accountable for their actions. The oldest parliament is Icelandic Parliament called as Althingi which was founded in 930.

Parliamentary system of government falls into two categories viz. unicameral (having only one chamber) and bicameral (having two chambers of parliament). Out of 193 member countries of UN, 79 are having bicameral legislatures (including India) and 114 are having unicameral legislatures.

About Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

  • It is global inter-parliamentary institution. It was established in 1889 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It was first permanent forum for political multilateral negotiations. Its has permanent observer status at UNGA.
  • Evolution of IPU: Its initial objective was arbitration of conflicts and had played important role setting up Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.  Over time, its mission shifted in promotion of democracy and inter-parliamentary dialogue.
  • Initially, it was only meant for individual parliamentarians, but later transformed into international organization of parliaments of sovereign states. It also has played key role in establishment of institutions at inter-governmental level, including UN
  • Members of IPU: The national parliaments of 178 countries are its members. Besides, 12 regional parliamentary assemblies are its associate members.