Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project
The Union of Myanmar is currently undergoing a transition to constitutional democracy, and considerable efforts still need to be made to complete the process. In 2013, the Community of Democracies, in cooperation with Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Forum, launched the Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project, that aims to facilitate an inclusive constitutional framework, through embracing all stakeholders within society and providing them with the necessary legal tools and language to engage in the process of drafting and amending it.
From July through November 2015, the Myanmar Constitutional Democracy project conducted four workshops, involving a total of 140 local participants and 27 regional and international experts. Local participants included members of the judiciary, parliament, and executive branches of the government, academics, and civil society activists. Using a mixture of seminars and roundtable discussions, the meetings aimed to share the knowledge and experience of the experts, provide tools of democratic discourse to local participants, and increase the participants’ knowledge on the process of democratic transition by sharing the experiences of other countries. The workshops also provided a forum for young local leaders from different segments of society to interact with experienced international experts. The workshops addressed several issues crucial to ensure an inclusive transitional process, including democratic constitutional concepts, the role of democratic institutions, principles of multi-stakeholder dialogue, gender issues and transitional justice.
By contributing to the creation of a politically diverse and constitutionally literate environment, this project increased prospects of peaceful transition and development in Myanmar. The outcomes of the project are thus long-term, and expected to continue to be visible long after the end of the workshops.