Constitution Building for Civil Society Trainig Course in Barcelona

Constitution Building for Civil Society
Constitution building is becoming an increasingly broad based process in terms of the scope of stakeholders looking to engage in one form or another. Whereas the negotiating and drafting of constitutions, for the great majority of the past 250 years of written national constitutions has primarily involved small groups of elites in a closed process, modern constitution making looks very different with large scale involvement of different societal groups as well as the public at large.

Whilst engagement at the level of the individual citizen is increasingly possible through participation in public consultation meetings, submission of comments and proposals and interaction through social and other media, effective public participation for the most part depends on well organized and informed civil society organizations.
Participation of civil society organizations thus represents a crucial channel for democratic constitution building. This occurs in several ways, including:

Representation of societal interests
Civil society organizations are able to communicate societal interests to those responsible for negotiating and drafting the content of the Constitution. Some organizations (e.g. l
awyer associations) may also have specifically relevant expertise they wish to contribute to the process-

Civil society can play a key role in monitoring the activities of the constitution making body, and communicating progress to the broader public. This applies in particular to the media, but also to an emerging
trend of civil society organizations who act as an interface between the public and the constitution making body (e.g. Al Bawsala in Tunisia)


Civil society organizations can mobilize individuals. As well as increasing general participation in the process, this can help sway the constitutional negotiations though readjusting the electoral expectations of individual
candidates for political office and political parties.

Civil society can play a significant role in the vast task of educating the population on the content of the Constitution, as well as the process.

In order for CSOs to take full advantage of these opportunities, they should be equipped with appropriate knowledge–relating to both the content of constitutions and the process of constitution building –
and skills in advocacy, lobbying, communications and mobilization. Further, whilst all constitution building processes are different and each approachmust be tailored to the unique context at hand, there are a number of innovative practices and methods which civil society organizations can learn from their previous experiences.The Barcelona

Workshop:International IDEA, in partnership with Democracy

Reporting International, Interpeace, United States Institute of Peace United Nations Department for Political Affairs and the Barcelona International Peace Resource Center, is organizing a five day workshop for civil society organizations who have worked, or are working, in constitution building processes.

The five day workshop provides an overview of the fundamentals of participatory constitution building, including principles, mechanisms and process options, as well as in depth exchange on a range of tasks and roles important for civil society during constitutional transitions. These include:

  • Civic education
  • Public participation and debate
  • Monitoring the process
  • Advocacy
  • Interacting with the media

Goal: To build capacity through exchange of ideas and experiences for CSOs engaged in constitution building processes – both during, and in the immediate wake of, a constitutional transition. To create a network of
individuals with knowledge and experience in engaging in constitution building processes. To identify a cadre of civil society leaders capable of delivering similar workshops in the future. To identify key issues and strategies for engagement of CSOs in constitution building to be developed into a knowledge resource for CSOs in future constitution building processes.

Participants Profile:
Leaders of advocacy organizations, interest groups, professional associations and other civil society organizations engaged in current or recent constitution building processes.
This course will be taught in English and a high proficiency level is required to fully benefit from attendance.


Facilitators and Faculty will be drawn from the partner organizations, as well as practitioners from recent constitution building processes.

Travel & accommodation
International IDEA will provide economy class return air tickets and full board accommodation for participants. There is no course fee.

Please submit your application form, C.V. and motivation letter on or before  7 August Applications should be submitted to and copied to and are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Please note that for most participants who do not hold an EU passport, it will be necessary to apply for a Schengen visa to enter Spain. It will take up to four weeks for the visa to be granted. Therefore it is recommended that if you hold a passport which requires you to obtain a visa, to submit your applications materials as soon as possible.

Location: Sant Felip Neri House, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: Five days
Timing:12-16 October 2015