The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was founded in 1889 in order to provide a neutral, conflict-independent platform for an exchange of opinion and experience between parliamentarians from many different countries and regions. Its headquarters have been located in Geneva since 1921.
Today, the IPU provides a forum for parliamentarians from 178 countries to engage in dialogue on current political, economic and social questions of international concern. The IPU works closely with the United Nations. Areas of particular interest in the IPU's substantive work are the defence and promotion of human rights and fostering peace, democracy and the rule of law, which the IPU supports in practical terms through selected development projects.
In its current (20th) electoral term, the German Bundestag is represented at the IPU's meetings by an 8-member delegation headed by Ralph Brinkhaus, CDU/CSU.