Parliamentary Development

UNDP SomaliaMembers of Somalia's New Parliament hold a vote UNDP Somalia

Strengthening parliaments as institutions of governance

 “Representative and effective parliaments can help advance inclusive and sustainable human development, and so improve people’s lives”.
Helen Clark, in the Global Parliamentary Report

Building on its long-term presence and continued engagement in more than 70 countries, UNDP has established its leadership in strengthening parliaments around the globe. UNDP’s approach centers on the core functions of a parliament from the perspective of delivering sustainable human development gains for the nation. UNDP supports parliaments’ response to citizens’ expectations for voice, development and accountability.

Specifically, UNDP delivers technical expertise to:

  • develop the capacity of parliamentarians and works with parliamentary committees on sustainable development issues, such as climate change, energy and environment, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, anti-corruption and the post-2015 development agenda;
  • strengthen the capacity of technical staff and legislators to effectively carry out their three core functions (legislative, representation and oversight) with a focus on sustainable development;
  • support institutional reform through the development and implementation of Parliamentary Strategic Plans;
  • design and implement face-to-face induction courses for newly elected parliamentarians;
  • promote effective budget oversight by Parliament;
  • stimulate the participation of marginalized groups in Parliament (i.e.: women, youth, minorities);
  • expand parliamentary communication and outreach efforts resulting in greater opportunities for citizens to interact with their representatives;
  • reinforce parliamentary administration to support the work of the legislature;
  • facilitate the development of inclusive and participative political institutions (political party reform, committees’ work on priority state-building and peacebuilding legislation);
  • reinforce parliaments' relationships with the executive and judiciary branches of government and with civil society.

UNDP provides parliaments with tailored solutions on a demand-driven basis and integrates best-fit practices and lessons learned from around the world in its technical support. Our approach is sensitive to the context within which parliaments operate; and UNDP engages with relevant stakeholders and organizations beyond the parliament – i.e. civil society organizations (CSOs), the media, and political parties including the opposition – in order to promote ownership and sustainability of the parliamentary strengthening process.

With its partners, UNDP also provides access to two online knowledge platforms for parliamentarians: iKNOW Politics, a portal for the political empowerment of women, and AGORA, the portal for parliamentary development.

Resources: Parliamentary Development Strategy Note