Parliamentary Development

Photo: UNDP/Julie Pulowski
Photo: UNDP/Julie Pulowski

Strengthening parliaments as institutions of governance

Parliaments are pillars of democratic governance, with a critical role in spurring and sustaining national action towards the Millennium Development Goals. They can be powerful agents of change, particularly during and after times of crisis.

Viable democracy and open society depend on effective lawmaking, oversight and representation — the three chief functions of parliaments. UNDP provides technical assistance to more than 60 parliaments around the world in their efforts to:

  • Build the capacity of legislators and technical staff
  • Promote institutional reform
  • Strengthen parliaments' relationships with the executive and judiciary branches of government and with civil society
  • Enhance the effectiveness of women members of parliament and improve their ability to caucus and learn from one another

This work is often carried out through inter-parliamentary networking, seeking solutions tailored to each country and culture. E-governance and ICT strategies support this networking, including Web-based resources such as iKNOW Politics and AGORA. For ten years, the UNDP Global Programme for Parliamentary Strengthening has been setting global standards and benchmarks, exchanging regional best practices and building capacity in selected countries.

Parliamentary development is a mechanism that benefits the poor and other disadvantaged groups by increasing their political representation and increasing government accountability to the public.