Interpeace “Constitution-Making and Reform” handbook launch coverage by Jeffrey Holmes, New York Event Photographer
Interpeace launched the handbook: ‘Constitution-making and reform: Options for the Process’ a comprehensive resource for national constitution-makers and their advisers in September, 2011. Interpeace engaged the services of New York event photographer, Jeffrey Holmes, to document the event and capture compelling images to showcase this premier event.Over 150 new constitutions have been created since 1975, and as many as 20 national constitutions are reformed or adopted each year. Recent months and the ‘Arab Spring’ have proven that this development continues. Constitutional reforms have been, or are, on the agenda in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Nepal, Southern Sudan, Zimbabwe and now Libya. Read more: The first of its kind – a constitution-making handbook for peace
A modern constitution needs to be legitimate in the eyes of the people, but achieving this is a challenge. Often national and international constitution-makers feel out in the cold as there has been no comprehensive resource on the options for constitution-making and reform. The design, implementation and management of these processes, in an inclusive way, create the foundations for lasting peace. The stakes are high. If the process goes wrong the seeds of future conflict and violence will be sown. Interpeace, an international peacebuilding organization, is now filling this critical gap. Download the complete handbook.
Jeffrey Holmes photographed the launch held at the United Nations (UN) in New York, H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the UN General Assembly provided the opening remarks. His Royal Highness Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the UN and Chair of the Peace building Commission Country Configuration for Liberia, moderated a panel discussion. He was joined by Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Director of the Center for International Conflict Resolution, SIPA, and former Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations; Nicholas Haysom, Director of Political Affairs, Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General; Jamal Benomar, UN Special Adviser and Envoy for Yemen and former Director of the UN Rule of Law Unit; and Michele Brandt, co-author of ‘Constitution-making and Reform: Options for the Process’.
Four respected experts from the constitution-making domain, Michele Brandt, Director of Interpeace’s ‘Constitution-making for Peace’ initiative, Jill Cottrell, Yash Ghai, and Anthony Regan, united to create this ‘how to guide’ for constitution-makers around the world.
The handbook provides practical guidance on how to design transparent, nationally led and owned processes that are also participatory and inclusive.
“With the complexity of a constitution-making process come difficult choices. The handbook lays out the potential dilemmas and implications that practitioners on the ground may face,” explains Graeme Simpson, Director of Interpeace USA, Policy and Learning.
Simpson confirms how Interpeace has approached this initiative: “Much of the knowledge contained in the handbook simply did not
exist in publications.Experiences needed to be harnessed. We involved over 120 practitioners and experts with invaluable first hand field experience. We have captured what they have learnt. We’ve not focused on just one area but have taken a global view. Experience from over 100 countries fed into the process and of course there is the expertise of the four authors. This handbook has content for everyone.”
“Members of constituent assemblies or constitutional commissions, government officials, politicians, civil society, activists, donors, foreign advisors, policy analysts, academics, and international aid actors can all benefit. It captures the knowledge and weighs up the options so they can make up their own minds on what will work best for their society,” highlights Scott M. Weber, Director-General of Interpeace. Lakhdar Brahimi, who provided the foreword for the handbook, highlights: “I wish ‘Constitution-making and reform: options for the process’ had been available to the international community when I was the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan. This book asks the right questions.”
Interpeace has been enabling societies to build lasting peace since 1994.
Interpeace is an independent, international peace building organization and strategic partner of the United Nations.It were created by the United Nations in 1994. We became an independent organization in 2000 while maintaining a unique partnership with the UN. As a result, we operate either as an independent NGO or as a UN initiative.
Interpeace is headquartered in Geneva (Switzerland) and has offices in Brussels (Belgium), Guatemala City (Guatemala), Nairobi (Kenya) and New York (USA).
The organization is governed by a Governing Council made up of prominent individuals from the government, international and business sectors. The Governing Council is chaired by the former President of Ghana, John A. Kufuor and includes seats for the personal representative for the UN Secretary-General and the Host Government, Switzerland.
Through the Advisory Council we bring together governments, multilateral and UN agencies, and experts to analyze the latest in peace building trends. The Secretariat is led by Scott Weber, Director-General and a dedicated staff from around the world.
The three main bodies of Interpeace, the Governing Council, Advisory Council and the Secretariat, provide the necessary support to over 300 peace builders in the field. Consisting exclusively of people from the societies in which we are active, our local teams lead the programmes on the ground.
Their approach contributes to building lasting peace through inclusive and nationally-led processes of change. The added value is the tested approach in strengthening capacities within societies to manage conflict without resorting to violence or coercion. Peace building must be led and owned from within a society so they work exclusively with national teams in countries across Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and the Middle East.
In 2010, Interpeace was supporting initiatives in 16 countries and territories, four of which are implemented through our United Nations arm, the Joint Programme Unit for United Nations/Interpeace. They support initiatives in: Burundi, Cyprus, Central America regional program on youth, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Liberia, Palestine, Rwanda, Somali Region, Timor-Leste.
A thematic program covering Constitution Making for Peace, a handbook on options for making and reforming constitutions. They combine local peace building knowledge with the latest in international thinking to assist the international community, including the United Nations, to play a more effective role in supporting peace building efforts around the world.
Interpeace Finances and Support
They are a non-profit organization. Peace building work is funded by generous voluntary contributions from governments, multilateral organizations, foundations and private individuals. 16 donor governments and multilateral organizations work through the Donor Committee.
2010 expenditures of US $ 23 million reflects the growing demand for our support and expertise from governments, civil society, donor countries, UN agencies and other international organizations.2010 financial reports were, for the second year, in accordance with the highest financial reporting standard – IFRS. In 2010 they also received ZEWO certification from the Swiss charity evaluator. This demonstrates the Interpeace focus.