Some 100 members of the Riksdag currently take part in the Riksdag's delegations to six parliamentary assemblies. Their work involves participating in the regular meetings - sessions - of these assemblies, where topical issues are discussed and resolutions adopted. The delegation to the Nordic Council The Nordic Council is a body for cooperation among the parliaments and governments of the Nordic countries. The Council works in the same way as a national parliament – but at the Nordic level. The Nordic Council was founded in 1952. It has 87 elected members from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands, Åland and Greenland, as well as representatives of the governments of these countries/territories. Most matters that are considered concern domestic policy. They may, for example, concern border barriers, such as rules that impede those wishing to live in one Nordic country and work in another. The Nordic Council also works with foreign and security policy issues, primarily in relation to the Baltic and Arctic regions. Phia Andersson (Social Democratic Party), Deputy Chair of the Swedish delegation to the Nordic Council, participates in a debate in the Nordic Council. Photo: Morten Brakestad / Norden.org Takes initiatives and gives recommendations The Council takes initiatives and gives recommendations on various issues to one or more of the Nordic governments. Many of its recommendations lead to concrete measures such as legislative amendments or new legislation in the member states or territories. Checks are carried out to ensure that the recommendations are implemented as intended. Activities of the Nordic Council are led and coordinated by the Presidium. The Presidium and committees prepare matters to be dealt with by the members at Council sessions. There are five committees in the Nordic Council: The Culture, Education and Training Committee The Citizens' and Consumer Rights Committee The Environment and Natural Resources Committee The Welfare Committee The Business and Industry Committee As a rule, the Council holds two larger meetings - sessions - per year. If necessary, it can also convene for extraordinary sessions or conferences on topical issues for Nordic cooperation. Between sessions, the Presidium is the supreme decision-making body. There are five party groups in the Nordic Council: the Social Democratic Group the Centre Groupthe Conservative Group the Left-wing Socialist Green Group Nordic Freedom The party political distribution in the national parliaments is reflected in the composition of the Nordic Council. The Swedish delegation For each electoral period, the Riksdag elects 20 ordinary members and 20 deputy members to the Nordic Council. The delegation chooses a chair, deputy chair and a working committee. Ahead of sessions, the Government appoints the ministers who are to participate. These are also part of the delegation, but are not entitled to vote. Every year the delegation submits a report to the Riksdag on its activities. The delegation to the Council of Europe The Council of Europe works to create a set of common fundamental principles based on human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Sweden was one of the founders of the Council of Europe and its parliamentary assembly over 60 years ago. The Council of Europe was established in 1949 and has 47 member states today. Only countries with a democratic form of government are granted membership. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) works with virtually all matters dealt with by the national parliaments, with the exception of defence issues. Democracy and human rights are the core areas dealt with by the Council of Europe but topical political issues are gaining increasing attention. With its 211 conventions, which the member states are obliged to follow, the Council of Europe plays an important role in setting standards for European policies today. One of the best known conventions is the European Convention on Human Rights. Election monitoring An important task for the parliamentarians is to examine how well the member states honour their commitments. Election monitoring is an important part of this examination. During monitoring missions, which are organised together with the OSCE, parliamentarians visit polling stations on election day in order to observe whether citizens in the country are given adequate opportunities to vote. Election monitoring promotes democratic development and the Swedish delegation to the Council of Europe has participated in several missions in recent years. Adopts resolutions and issues statements The PACE meets four times a year in Strasbourg where the organisation also has its headquarters. During these sessions the Assembly debates various reports, adopts recommendations addressed to the Committee of Ministers as well as resolutions, and makes statements on topical issues. The PACE has nine specialised committees and one standing committee, which meet between sessions. The committees are: The Standing Committee The Monitoring Committee (the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe) The Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights The Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced PersonsThe Committee on Culture, Science, Education and MediaThe Committee on Equality and Non-DiscriminationThe Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and InstitutionsThe Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights Five political groups There are five political groups in the PACE: The Socialist Group (SOC) The European Democrat Group (EDG) The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) The European Democrat Group (EDG) The Group of the Unified European Left (UEL) The Swedish delegation The Swedish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is elected by the Riksdag for a full electoral period, that is for a four-year period. The delegation has six members, including a chair and deputy chair, and six deputy members. Every year the delegation submits a report to the Riksdag on its activities. The OSCE delegation The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), is an organisation for security policy dialogue and cooperation in Europe. It works to prevent conflicts and protect human rights. An important task for the parliamentary assembly is to monitor parliamentary elections in different countries. The OSCE was established in 1975, and the Parliamentary Assembly was formed in 1991. The Assembly consists of parliamentarians from 56 participating states. In addition to countries in Europe, Russia, countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as the USA and Canada are also members. Each country is represented in relation to its size. Central to the OSCE's activities are conflict-prevention measures, protection of national minorities and human rights, support to democracy-building, arms control and confidence- and security-building measures. Adopts resolutions The OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly debates topical issues and adopts resolutions designed to increase security and cooperation in Europe. Resolutions are not legally binding for the participating countries, but can influence their foreign policy. The Parliamentary Assembly has three annual meetings: a winter meeting, an annual session and an autumn meeting. Every other year a special meeting is also held, focusing on economic issues. Work takes place in plenary sessions and in three committees. Ahead of the annual session, the committees prepare a report and a draft resolution on the chosen topic of the session. Members can also present proposals of their own. The three committees are: The General Committee on Political Affairs and Security The General Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment The General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions An ambassador cooperates with government representatives and with the Parliamentary Assembly. This facilitates ongoing cooperation between the various bodies and between participating countries, even though the Parliamentary Assembly has so few meetings during the year. The Parliamentary Assembly can also appoint special working groups for different subject areas or countries. At present there are three such working groups - for Moldova, Belarus and for relations between the OSCE institutions. Special representatives can be appointed by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly to promote dialogue and to gain better knowledge of a specific issue. Today there are special representatives for Afghanistan, Central Asia, Mediterranean affairs, migration, the south Caucasus, south-east Europe, gender issues, human trafficking and the OSCE budget. Monitors elections In order to promote democratic development, the Parliamentary Assembly monitors parliamentary elections and, in certain cases, presidential elections, in various countries. The monitoring missions are often carried out in new democracies in the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe, in Central Asia, as well as in the USA. These are sometimes carried out in collaboration with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament. The Swedish OSCE delegation participates actively in the monitoring of elections. Whenever possible, members of the Riksdag who have received training also take part in the Swedish OSCE delegation during elections. They then visit polling stations on election day in order to observe compliance with election laws. The Swedish delegation The Riksdag delegation to the OSCE is chosen by the Riksdag for an entire electoral period, that is for four years. The delegation comprises eight members, from whom a chair and deputy chair are chosen for the full electoral period. Every year the delegation submits a report to the Riksdag on its activities. The IPU delegation Terrorism and women's political opportunities were on the agenda when the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) met in Zambia in 2016. The Riksdag delegation was led by Third Deputy Speaker Esabelle Dingizian (Green Party), who is seen here with Zambia's Speaker Patrick Matibini. Photo: The Riksdag Administration Photo: The Riksdag Administration The Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) is a global organisation for the parliaments of independent states. It was established over one hundred years ago to promote peace and international cooperation. The organisation currently comprises members from 166 national parliaments. The IPU was established in 1889 and the number of members has more than doubled in the last thirty years. The organisation serves to foster contacts between parliamentarians in all countries and to encourage the development of parliamentary institutions. Helping to build democratic functions, work procedures and functioning parliaments represents an increasing share of the IPU's activities. The IPU also pursues extensive development cooperation activities in matters relating to representative democracy, human rights and, in particular, gender equality and the participation of women in politics. It defends human rights among parliamentarians and promotes international security and sustainable development. Over the years, the IPU has developed closer relations with the UN and it has had observer status in the General Assembly since 2002. Non-binding resolutions The IPU does not take any decisions that are binding for the member states or their parliaments. Its activities focus on presenting concrete proposals and adopting resolutions in the main topics debated at each assembly. The organisation has four standing committees that work with the following issues: Peace and International Security (First Committee) Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade (Second Committee) Democracy and Human Rights (Third Committee) The UN (Fourth Committee) The Swedish delegation The Swedish delegation is appointed by the Speaker of the Riksdag in consultation with the parliamentary party group leaders. It consists of five people: a chair, first deputy chair, second deputy chair and two other members. Additional delegates with a specialist knowledge of the subject areas being dealt with are able to attend the spring sessions. This makes it easier to link and integrate discussions at the conferences into the work of the Riksdag committees. Every year the delegation submits a report on its activities to the Riksdag Board. It is then considered by the Committee on Foreign Affairs and debated in the Chamber. The PA-UfM delegation (formerly EMPA) The Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM), is a meeting place for parliamentarians from the EU member states and the Mediterranean countries. The Assembly aims to create a common area of peace, stability and shared prosperity around the Mediterranean. The Assembly has 280 members from the EU member states and the European Parliament as well as the partner countries Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. Since 2009, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Mauritania, Monaco and Montenegro have also participated. The work of the Assembly aims to contribute to greater understanding and cooperation between the participating countries. The objective is to create a common area around the Mediterranean where there is peace and stability, shared prosperity and strengthened cooperation in social and cultural issues, based on fundamental principles such as respect for human rights and democracy. Cooperation arose from the Barcelona Process, which is a partnership at government level between the EU and the Mediterranean countries initiated in 1995. Eventually, this cooperation developed into the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP or Euro-Med). A consultative parliamentary assembly, the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA), was established in 2004. Four years later cooperation at government level intensified and became the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). Its parliamentary assembly is known as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM). Consultative Assembly The Assembly is consultative and meets once a year at a session where it adopts non-binding resolutions. Much of the Assembly's work takes place in the five committees which are organised around the following themes: political dialogue and security policy economic and financial cooperation energy and environment cultural and social exchange women's rights The Swedish delegation The Swedish delegation is appointed by the Speaker of the Riksdag in consultation with the parliamentary party group leaders. The delegation consists of three members including one chair and one deputy chair, and three deputy members. Every year the delegation submits a report to the Riksdag Board. It is then considered by the Committee on Foreign Affairs and debated in the Chamber.