Inter-Parliamentary Union

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was founded in 1889, making it the first permanent political forum for international negotiations. This way, the IPU paved way for the creation of the League of Nations and the United Nations, and was an important body in the processes that led to the founding of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, located in The Hague. Over the years, eight people who are closely connected to the IPU have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, including the first three prizes.

As a global forum for parliamentary dialogue that works to strengthen peace and cooperation, as well as representative democracy, the IPU

  • strengthens contacts, coordination and exchanges of experience between parliaments and members of parliament
  • discusses the issues of interest and concern in international politics, and proposes its visions to encourage parliaments and members of parliament to take necessary action
  • contributes to the protection and advancement of human rights, a key factor in parliamentary democracy and development
  • contributes to raising awareness about representative institutions, as well as strengthening and developing their operational mechanisms

In 2016, the IPU adopted its strategy for 2017-2021 titled “Strong democratic parliaments serving the people”. As of now, members of the IPU include the parliaments of 173 countries and 11 associated members.

Estonia was a member of the IPU in 1921-1940 and restored its membership in October 1991. Estonia is a member of the 12+ group, along with other European states, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Estonian group of the IPU includes all members of the Riigikogu, who elect the board of the group. The Riigikogu delegation to the IPU is made up of the board that comprises the president, who won the largest number of votes, and three vice presidents. The composition of the delegation is based on the standing of the political forces in the Riigikogu and gender representation.

The aim of the Estonian IPU delegation is to develop inter-parliamentary relations, showcase Estonia in international fora and present our positions on relevant issues. Estonia is an active member of the IPU. Estonia has spoken at IPU assemblies on issues related to Ukraine, there is active annual Finno-Ugric cooperation between members of parliament (Estonia, Finland and Hungary), and Estonia has presented the experiences of the Riigikogu when it comes to the role of the parliament in the strategic planning on state level.