In July 2010, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) decided to jointly produce the first ever Global Parliamentary Report, in order to provide an overarching analysis of the state of parliaments worldwide. The central theme of this report is the changing relationship between parliaments and citizens. While emphasizing the diversity among parliaments, it looks in particular at reforms designed to enhance this relationship.
Parliaments perform vital roles in a democracy. Their authority rests on their ability to represent and articulate the interests of citizens in ways that no other institution can. However, in a complex and fast-moving environment, many parliaments have to change the way they perform in order to retain their legitimacy and relevance.
The report examines how institutional structures are changing; how parliaments are seeking to engage, educate and consult the public; and how voters’ expectations of parliament shape the activity and performance of parliamentarians themselves. The evidence from parliaments suggests that reforms designed to improve relations with citizens are characterized by a desire for more openness, communication and transparency.
The purpose of the report is to describe the key issues and provide policy options for parliaments, based on good practices, in order to enhance the effectiveness of parliaments through continuous and dynamic dialogue with citizens.
The report has required more than a year of work, under the guidance of a 11 members Advisory board and joint efforts of UNDP and the IPU. It has been written by Mr. Greg Power, a well-known expert in the field of parliamentary development. It is based on extensive research and has gone through several peer reviews. It comprises 5 chapters, including numerous examples and analysis from all regions of the world.
The report is targeted at parliamentarians and the parliamentary development community. However, it can also be used by researchers, students and citizens to stimulate discussion about ways to strengthen parliament as the central institution of democracy.
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