The Melbourne Forum on Constitution-Building in Asia and the Pacific started in 2016 to fill a need for direct peer-to-peer engagement and experience sharing among practitioners and scholars in the region on constitution-building themes of global importance. The Melbourne Forum began as an annual event organized jointly by International IDEA and the Constitution Transformation Network at Melbourne Law School, but has matured into a community of experts who seek advice and support from one another. The Melbourne Forum has established itself as a leading network of experts; it has successfully helped to elevate the perspectives, knowledge and experience of Asia and the Pacific in all its diversity and complexity.
As Dr Maria Ela Atienza of the University of the Philippines remarked, ‘The Melbourne Forum is a good opportunity for scholars and practitioners on constitutional and political reform to compare the experiences of different countries and learn lessons from each other. Because it is held regularly, the Forum can build a network of people that monitor constitutional issues, reforms, and challenges to democracy in individual countries in the Asia-Pacific and the region. The Forum can potentially generate research projects and more policy and action recommendations for constitutional and other reforms and safeguarding of democracy in individual countries and the region.’
Some of these lessons have been captured and disseminated through a series of Constitutional INSIGHTS Briefs covering a range of topics from the participation of ex-combatants in constitution-building processes to asymmetrical territorial arrangements in decentralized states.