The inaugural Melbourne Forum brought together leading academics and practitioners from across Asia and the Pacific to discuss constitution-building in contexts where there is a territorially defined societal conflict. Discussions highlighted both the importance of exchanging knowledge and experiences, and the need for more opportunities for practitioner-focused discussions in Asia and the Pacific. There is actual or potential societal conflict along territorial lines within many polities in the region, reflecting societal diversity in terms of language, religion, tribe, culture or ideology. 

Some states in the region have well-established constitutions that were designed with an eye to managing societal conflict. Across the region as a whole there are states where constitution-building is either underway or pending. Their circumstances are very different, and the solutions these states are working towards must necessarily vary as well. Nevertheless, there is considerable potential for countries in the region—and worldwide—to derive insights from each other’s experiences as they grapple with these challenges. The Melbourne Forum was designed with this goal of mutual, shared learning in mind.


Publication date
02 October 2017
Number of pages
Constitution Transformation Network (Melbourne Law School)




Theme 1. Constitutional design: Federalism and devolution 
Introduction: Federalism and devolution 
Federalism and devolution in Nepal
Federalism and devolution in India
Federalism and devolution in Papua New Guinea

Theme 2. Constitutional design: Special autonomy 
Introduction: Special autonomy 
Special autonomy and Bougainville 
Special autonomy and New Caledonia 
Special autonomy and the Philippines

Theme 3. Constitution-making processes
Introduction: Constitution-making processes
Constitution-making in Solomon Islands
Constitution-making in Sri Lanka 
Constitution-making in the Philippines 
Constitution-making in Myanma

Theme 4. Implementation
Introduction: Implementation
Implementation by Indonesia
Implementation by Sri Lanka


About the participants
About the organizations

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Constitution-building in states with territorially based societal conflict

Melbourne Forum on Constitution-Building in Asia and the Pacific18–19 August 2016
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