Constitution-Building

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Constitutional Design for Territorially Divided Societies

This Constitution Brief covers the spatial arrangement of public power through constitutional design. By changing the way in which public resources and power are allocated, and autonomy and identity are recognized, constitutional arrangements related to managing territorial divisions can be critical in transforming societal division and conflict to unity and peace.

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Constitutions are the foundations of many democracies but poorly designed constitutions can increase discord and conflict.

Constitutional change is a central feature of democratic transition, democratic consolidation and conflict management. Yet, there is still relatively little comparative knowledge available for constitution-makers to rely on. This is a critical issue because constitution-makers are usually thrust suddenly into the spotlight without prior training or preparation and must learn quickly, as the consequences at stake are critical to the future of their country.

International IDEA’s Constitution-Building Programme fills this gap by providing knowledge and direct assistance in the area of constitutional transitions, with regards to the processes through which constitutions are made, and the design of the constitution. Our approach emphasizes the importance of national ownership and adapting, not adopting, comparative practice to the specific national context.

Supporting Justice in Conflict and Transition

The Facility on Justice in Conflict and Transition provides short-term support and expert advice in the areas of transitional justice, constitution building and restoration of justice for the population. Through the rapid deployment of its experts to third countries, the Facility on Justice in Conflict and Transition (the Facility) renders strategic and technical advice, helps jump-start short-term projects, and facilitates the identification of opportunities for longer-term involvements.

Both the 2015 EU Policy Framework on Support to Transitional Justice and the 2018 EU Integrated Approach to External Conflicts and Crises underline the importance to embed the EU's support to transitional justice in the wider crisis response, conflict prevention, security and development efforts of the EU.

Visit ConstitutionNet.org for more on all our constitution-building news and community.

 

The Constitution-Building Programme has four main areas of work:

  1. Acting as a thought-leader and convener in the constitution-building field
  2. Providing in-country technical advice and capacity building
  3. Offering research services and access to comparative information
  4. Supporting constitution-building processes in post-conflict setting

 

1. Acting as a thought-leader and convener in the constitution-building field

International IDEA operates the largest specialized knowledge generation programme in the area of constitution-building, making the organization a recognized thought-leader and convener in the field. International IDEA uses this status to convene regional and global meetings of experts and practitioners, to bring together organizations working in the field for coordination and information sharing, and to support regional networks.

 

2. Providing in-country technical advice and capacity building

Building from its broad base of expertise, International IDEA provides direct in-country assistance through recommendations, and the organization of workshops and dialogues for both political leaders, civil society actors and international advisers. Most recently, International IDEA has responded to requests for assistance in Afghanistan, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, Libya, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen. For more information on our trainings, please visit our website.

 

3. Offering research services and access to comparative information

International IDEA has produced an unparalleled range of knowledge resources in the field of constitution-building. These are available for free download . You can also find explanatory videos here.

International IDEA also provides information and analysis regarding ongoing constitutional processes through the online information portal ConstitutionNet.

 

4. Supporting constitution-building processes in post-conflict setting

As modern-day violent conflicts are mostly intra-state, rather than inter-state, conflict resolution and sustainable peace building often depends upon a new political settlement, for which constitution-building is central. This is why International IDEA’s Constitution-Building Programme places particular focus on processes of post-conflict constitution-building, in particular how constitutional issues relate to the overarching peace process, and constitutional design for divided societies emerging from conflict.

What's Going On

Dec
03
2019
General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Image Credit: Amanda Sourek, International IDEA

General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Image Credit: Amanda Sourek, International IDEA

News Article
Dec
02
2019
Members from the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (Photo from the Archive). Image credit: International IDEA. 

Members from the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (Photo from the Archive). Image credit: International IDEA. 

Event
Nov
17
2019
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Sumit Bisarya
Head of Constitution-Building Processes
Sumit Bisarya is the Head of Constitution-Building Processes at International IDEA.

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