The IPU is the international organization of Parliaments (Article 1 of the Statutes of the Inter-Parliamentary Union). It was established in 1889.
The Union is the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue and works for peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy.
To that end, it:
- Fosters contacts, co-ordination, and the exchange of experience among parliaments and parliamentarians of all countries;
- Considers questions of international interest and concern and expresses its views on such issues in order to bring about action by parliaments and parliamentarians;
- Contributes to the defence and promotion of human rights - an essential factor of parliamentary democracy and development;
- Contributes to better knowledge of the working of representative institutions and to the strengthening and development of their means of action.
The IPU supports the efforts of and works in close co-operation with the United Nations, whose objectives it shares. The Union also co-operates with regional inter-parliamentary organizations, as well as with international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations which are motivated by the same ideals.
In October 2011, the IPU adopted its Strategy for 2012-2017 under the overall title "Better parliaments, stronger democracy".