IParl Expert Consultation by the Inter-Parliamentary Union
No two parliaments are alike. However, all parliamentary institutions are bound by the same claim: To give citizens a voice in the regulation of public affairs. Against this background, the project initiated by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to draw up a catalogue of indicators for democratic parliaments is as ambitious as it is valuable. The starting point was not least that the United Nations - and thus almost all states worldwide - have agreed within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to create ‘strong institutions’ that act ‘effectively, responsibly and transparently’ (Goal 16.6.) and enable ‘responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative’ decision-making (Goal 16.7.). These criteria also guide the identification of indicators for the most important legitimizing institution, the parliament.
As a first step, the IPU hosted an Expert Consultation Meeting in Geneva on 12 and 13 September 2019. Among the scientific participants the IParl was represented by Danny Schindler. In addition, several organizations from the field of parliamentary monitoring and parliamentary development participated, such as the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE (ODIHR), the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the US National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), the Commonwealth Parliamentary Assembly, the African Parliamentary Union and the Assemblée parlementaire de la francophonie.
In a constructive atmosphere, the previous experiences in the normative and empirical "surveying" of parliaments were first exchanged. In the subsequent discussions, which took place in small working groups as well as in large groups, the main focus was on different approaches, methodological questions and the operationalisation of possible indicators. The further steps on the ‘long journey’ (according to Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU) to a universal catalogue of indicators were also determined. It is intended that a first draft will be available in summer 2020. Together with Prof. Dr. Omer Genckaya (Marmara University Istanbul) and Prof. Dr. Sven Siefken (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg), the IParl will accompany this process scientifically.