Project kick-off: Developing a guiding note on constitution making and mediation


How do mediated peace negotiations processes differ from constitution making processes? Where are similarities and what lessons can be drawn from both processes to inform each other? Can constitution making be used as a peace mediation tool and vice versa? A new project of the Berghof Foundation, which started in January 2018, explores such questions. In collaboration with the United Nations – Mediation Support Unit (Department of Political Affairs), we will be developing a Guiding Note on working in the nexus of Constitution Making and Mediation. The project is a joint endeavour between the Mediation and Dialogue Support Programme and Conflict Transformation Research Programme at Berghof, and had its official kick-off meeting at our premises in Berlin on February 12-13 . Two constitutional experts from the UN met with  our project team to discuss the conceptual framework, and plan and design the project methodology and activities.

An informal brainstorming session was held on February 12, with participation of constitutional experts from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (Netherlands), Democracy Reporting International (Germany), and the Hub on Rule of Law Promotion (Rechtsstaatlichkeitsförderung) at Free University Berlin (Germany). The session was a knowledgeable exchange on mediation and constitution, on the challenges of working in the nexus and on ways to improve collaboration.

The project, supported by the Federal Foreign Office, Germany, will run until February 2019. It will include a number of case studies by local experts in countries, which have undergone mediation and constitution making processes. A policy roundtable consisting of mediation practitioners and constitution making practitioners will be held in April in New York at the UN premises. The insights from the case studies as well as from the roundtable discussions will be synthesised and fed into a practical, hands-on Guiding Note that will be beneficial for constitution makers and mediators.