International Day of Parliamentarism Date in the current year: June 30, 2024

International Day of Parliamentarism On June 30, UN member states celebrate the International Day of Parliamentarism. It was established by the UN General Assembly to emphasize the role of national parliaments in the implementation of national and international plans and strategies.

In the states where powers are separated into three branches (legislative, executive and judiciary), a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, its main functions are to represent the electorate, to make laws, and to oversee the government.

The world’s oldest surviving parliaments are the Althing (the national parliament of Iceland) and Tynwald (the parliament of the Isle of Man). Each of them claims to be the oldest continuous parliamentary body in the world. However, according to UNESCO, the first example of modern parliamentarism in the history of Europe was the Cortes of León summoned by King Alfonso IX in 1188.

On June 30, 1889, English MP William Randal Cremer and French economist Frédéric Passy established the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), a global organization serving to coordinate the actions of national parliaments. The Union played an important role in establishing the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, and many of its leading personalities have been awarded Nobel Peace Prizes.

In 2018, the United Nations General Assembly designated the foundation anniversary of the IPU as the International Day of Parliamentarism. The observance was created in order to recognize the role of national parliaments and international parliamentary organizations in improving the day-to-day lives of people and working to achieve the sustainable development goals.

Strong parliaments are a cornerstone of modern democracy because they pass laws representing the voice of the people and hold national governments accountable. In addition, they work with international organizations to link national and international agendas, ensuring that national governments implement international agreements and treaties that they sign up to.

According to the United Nations, every country in the world currently has some form of representative government (although parliaments in authoritarian regimes are often dominated by one political party that has no real opposition). Out of 193 UN member states, 114 have unicameral parliamentary systems (with one chamber of parliament) and 79 have bicameral parliaments (with two chambers).

The main objectives of the International Day of Parliamentarism are to raise awareness of the important contribution of national parliaments to achieving the sustainable development goals, to strengthen the cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union and national parliaments, and to increase the participation of parliamentary organizations and individual parliamentarians in the UN.

The General Assembly encourages all UN member states, national parliaments, relevant organizations of the UN system and other international organizations, civil societies, and other concerned parties to observe the International Day of Parliamentarism.

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