democracy, Democratic transitions, publications

Launch of Handbook on Democratic Constitutions and Myanmar Democracy Fellowship

Together with the Myanmar Knowledge Society, Democracy Reporting International (DRI) published the Handbook on Democratic Constitutions in March. The Handbook was launched in a series of multi-stakeholder workshops held on decentralization and power sharing, key topics also covered in the Handbook.  The series was hosted in partnership with the Knowledge Propagation Society (Mandalay), the Mon CSO Network (Mawlamyin) and the Ayeyarwaddy CSO network (Pathein). During these seminars, representatives from civil society organisations, political parties and law students discussed the sharing of legislative powers in decentralised systems, with a specific focus on the competencies and institutional design of the local level of government.

The Handbook on Democratic Constitutions introduces principles and mechanisms for a democratic constitutional reform process, identifies the essential elements of a democratic constitution and sheds light on the different ways these elements are protected in constitutions around the world. It also provides practical considerations for ensuring the effective implementation of a democratic constitution. Focusing on real-life challenges of constitutionalism, the handbook deals with topics that are relevant to Myanmar, such as the sequencing between peace negotiations and constitutional reform, the protection of minority rights, and the design of a federal system. The handbook is available free of charge, find more info and where to get it here:

DRI staff members and participants of Myanmar Democracy Fellowship. (Photo - DRI)

DRI staff members and participants of Myanmar Democracy Fellowship. (Photo – DRI)

During these workshops, participants also had the chance to learn more about the Myanmar Democracy Fellowship, an interactive training programme for policy contributors and policy makers from across the country. Module 1 will set the foundations and fellows will learn and discuss about the basics of democratic governance: minimum legal standards and building long lasting peace. Module 2 will focus on the horizontal (the checks and balances amongst state institutions) and vertical (decentralisation and federalism) balance and separation of powers. In module 3, Fellows will learn more about the protection and promotion of civil and political rights. In each module, fellows will have the opportunity to apply their new knowledge and discuss specific governance issues with different policy-makers. The application period is still open until 18 April! More information on the programme and how to apply here