The first session of the Forum was a highly interactive discussion, led by Prof Jiunn-Rong Yeh from Taiwan, and Dr Dinesha Samararatne, one of the Co-Convenors of the Constitution Transformation Network.
The session was designed to set the scene for the rest of the Forum. It explored the reasons for inclusion and participation in a constitution building context and the opportunities that they might offer. To this end, we distinguished between inclusion and participation, to the extent that each has distinct purposes. It may be that the purposes of inclusion and participation vary between different contexts and between different points in a constitution-building process. These issues were considered from the standpoint of both domestic constitution-builders and international institutions.
There were no case studies for this theme, but questions to guide discussion included:
- What is the difference between inclusion and participation? How do these two concepts put different, complementary or competing demands on a constitution-building process?
- What are the intended purposes of stakeholder inclusion? Who are/might be considered ‘stakeholders’ for this purpose? Who decides?
- When and why are sub-national entities considered stakeholders for the purposes of inclusion?
- What are the purposes of public participation? Do they differ at different points in the process?
- Are typically underrepresented groups (including women) best considered at the points of stakeholder inclusion, public participation or both? What are the purposes, in either case?
- What are the purposes of involving the diaspora in aspects of a constitution building process?
- To what extent are any of these questions deliberately considered at the beginning of a constitution-building process? Does it/would it help to do so?