Publication: "Constitutional Implementation for Sustainable Peace"

30 June 2019

ConTransNet is very pleased to launch a new research report on "Constitutional Implementation for Sustainable Peace". The research and report was funded by the Folke Bernadotte Academy.

This project examines the topical issue of the connections between Peace Agreements and Constitutions. Peace Agreements made in conflict-affected settings often call for constitutional change. However, while it is important for some kinds of commitments made in peace agreements to be reflected in the text of the Constitution, these constitutional provisions must themselves be given practical effect, if constitutional change is to contribute to sustainable peace.

This Report, written by ConTransNet Co-convenors Anna Dziedzic and Cheryl Saunders, develops a new analytical framework for understanding the connections between Peace Agreements and Constitutions in the interests of sustainable peace. This framework sets out what is involved in constitutional implementation (covering both textual and substantive implementation) and identifies the contribution that the processes and the outcomes of constitutional implementation can make to sustainable peace.

In this first phase of the project, we test this analytical framework through an initial case study of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, a region within the state of Papua New Guinea. In the case of Bougainville, there was successful textual implementation: the Peace Agreement specifically required changes to the Constitution of Papua New Guinea and these were readily made. However, the case study highlights how challenging issues of substantive implementation can be and how such challenges might indirectly affect sustainable peace. In November 2019, the people of Bougainville will vote in a referendum, guaranteed by the Peace Agreement, on whether Bougainville should have ‘greater autonomy’ within PNG or ‘independence’. An addendum to this study will be conducted and published after the referendum.

In the future, we hope  to conduct further case studies in which Peace Agreement were linked with constitutional change, such as Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, in order to further strengthen and refine our understanding of the links between peace agreements and constitutions and the significance of constitutional implementation for sustainable peace.