USIP's advisory work on constitution making is focused on providing options to design and conduct participatory, inclusive, transparent, and nationally owned constitution making processes that enjoy legitimacy and promote national dialogue, reconciliation, and a consensual political community. 

Current Activities

Constitutionmaking.org
Launched in 2009, this web-based resource provides essential input for practitioners involved in constitution making processes. The tools and intellectual resources if offers include a digital library of constitutions, comparative analysis of a variety of issues, and a blog dedicated to reporting and reflecting on constitutional developments worldwide. | Visit the site

Public Participation in Constitution Making
In countries coming out of conflict, the perceived legitimacy of a constitution, and how it was created, may be as essential to success as the outcome of any particular substantive issue. Therefore, public consultation accompanied by robust public information campaigns is a fundamental element of constitutional processes. In 2009, USIP partnered with International Interpeace and International IDEA to host a conference on these issues.

Rethinking Federalism and Power Sharing in Post-Conflict Divided Societies
Federalism has become a popular answer to the question of how to reconstruct post-conflict states, particularly those divided along ethnic, religious, or linguistic lines. Unfortunately, most federal models have been developed in and for advanced western democracies, making their application to non-western developing countries difficult. In addition, federalism and power sharing have too often been viewed in competition with each other, with little regard for possible synergies. USIP is partnering with the Forum of Federations to reexamine current thinking on institutional design in order to maximize the positive impact these processes and institutions can play in conflict resolution and post-conflict state building.

Country-Specific Engagements
The Constitution Making Project engages directly in ongoing constitution making processes, providing support and advice on issues of substance, process, and implementation. In the past, we have worked with government, international, and NGO/civil society organizations in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, and DRC, among others. We currently work in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan. | Read more about our ongoing projects.

Related Publications

Security and Justice in Post-Revolution Libya

Security and Justice in Post-Revolution Libya

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

By: Fiona Mangan; Christina Murtaugh with support from Ferdaouis Bagga

Three years after the death of Muammar Qaddafi and the end of the revolution in Libya, security and justice are stalled and elusive despite the proliferation of security providers. The power of the gun prevails over the rule of law. Many see no end in sight. Based on a nationwide survey and drawn from interviews and focus group sessions, this report—supported by the USIP and the Small Arms Survey—tracks security and justice in Libya from before the revolution through today, its realities, and...

Justice in Transition in Yemen

Justice in Transition in Yemen

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

By: Erica Gaston with Nadwa al-Dawsari

This research is part of a three-year United States Institute of Peace (USIP) project that explores how Yemen’s rule of law and local justice and security issues have been affected in the post-Arab Spring transition period. A complement to other analytical and thematic pieces, this large-scale mapping provides data on factors influencing justice provision in half of Yemen’s governorates. Its goal is to support more responsive programming and justice sector reform. Field research was managed b...

Civil Defense Groups

Civil Defense Groups

Thursday, July 31, 2014

By: Bruce “Ossie” Oswald

More than three hundred defense groups provide security to local communities in states around the world. While it is true that such groups can be a resource-efficient means for states to provide law and order to their communities, it is also true that they can worsen security.

Women's Access to Justice in Afghanistan

Women's Access to Justice in Afghanistan

Thursday, July 17, 2014

By: Erica Gaston; Tim Luccaro

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2002, gains in women’s rights and access to justice in Afghanistan have been remarkable, yet women’s rights remain extremely limited. How do women in Afghanistan seek justice when their rights are violated? What barriers do they face in pursuing justice or receiving a fair outcome? This report draws on interviews and focus group discussions held in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012 to determine answers to these and related questions and to recommend ways forward. ...

Gender

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