Research on Constitutional Implementation for Sustainable Peace

Peace agreements made in conflict-affected settings often call for constitutional change. As such, it is recognised that constitutions can play an important part in sustaining peace. However, the inclusion, in a constitution, of commitments made in the course of a peace agreement is only one step towards achieving sustainable peace. While it is important for some kinds of commitments made in peace agreements to be reflected in the text of the constitution through a process of ‘textual implementation’, these constitutional provisions must themselves be given practical effect, through ‘substantive implementation’. Sustainable peace requires that constitutional inclusion mechanisms not only are legally enshrined, but that they also are given effect in practice.

This project, funded by the Folke Bernadotte Academy, explores whether, and if so how, the implementation of constitutional inclusion mechanisms (broadly understood) is significant to sustainable peace. The Report develops an analytical framework to firstly assess constitutional implementation and secondly to identify the kinds of connections to be made between constitutional implementation and sustainable peace. The Autonomous Region of Bougainville within the state of Papua New Guinea is used as an initial case-study to test this analytical framework and to systematically understand the connections between peace-building, constitutions, implementation and sustainable peace.

In the future, we hope to conduct case studies from Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, in order to further strengthen and refine the insights from this research into the links between peace agreements and constitutions and the significance of constitutional implementation for sustainable peace.

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