Over the course of the summer, I have had the opportunity to attend three amazing conferences. Two were work related and one was to just because I am in The Hague. The first conference, held the first week of July, dealt with Gender and Constitution Building Process. Representatives from IDEA’s programs in Nepal, Bolivia and the Tunisia came to the global program office in The Hague to discuss gender issues.
The Gender Conference was really interesting and illustrative of constitutional building processes. That week showed that no matter what each stage of constitution writing must be carefully managed to turn out successfully. From the review stage all the way thru the implementation, stage the stakeholder must watch over the entire process and be careful of the vested interests of the various actors. The most successful processes included all sectors of society, but also put in mechanisms that guided the entire process. Bolivia for example not only includes quotas for women in government but also has mechanism install in the constitution to make sure that happens. Where as, Nepal on the other hand had a grand scheme of an inclusive constitution drafting process but did have not the mechanisms to see it through. The result was that Nepal’s Constituent Assembly was not able to draft a constitution. The process fell in the hands of the political party leaders and excluded all others.
I also attended a conference on the Rule of Law in Constitution Building the second week of July. This conference was interesting because it examined the tools needed to implement an effective constitution. This conference had speakers from IDLO, Tilburg University, and Tom Ginsburg from the University of Chicago. Tom Ginsburg autograph a book for me; he is kind of a big deal in constitutional reform. Through out the conference I had to twitter about what was happening (I don’t use twitter).