The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is an international organisation established in 1889 as a forum for political multilateral negotiations. 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, which is considered to be an essential factor of parliamentary democracy and development; and
- contributes to better knowledge of the working of representative institutions and to the strengthening and development of their means of action.
The Maltese Parliament, together with the parliaments of 165 other countries, is a member of the IPU, which supports the efforts of and works in close cooperation with the United Nations, and has a permanent observer status at the United Nations. One of the organs of the IPU is the Assembly which is composed of parliamentarians designated as delegates by the parliaments of the countries in the Union. The Assembly meets twice a year and is assisted in its work by a number of standing committees which normally prepare reports and draft resolutions for the Assembly. In October 2011, the IPU adopted its Strategy for 2012-2017 under the overall title ‘Better parliaments, stronger democracy’.