South Sudan Constitutional Symposium
The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) is Africa’s newest state after attaining sovereignty on 9 July 2011. Since then, a Transitional Constitution (2011) is in force and provides the legal framework toward a permanent one.
The Transitional Constitution enables civil society participation in the process of constitutional review. The contributions will be made to The National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) who will prepare an initial draft, which will be reviewed by representatives of the National Constitutional Conference (NCC).
Against this backdrop, the South Sudan National Youth Forum for Dialogue (YFD) and International IDEA jointly convened a symposium in Juba, South Sudan, on 26 – 28 August 2013, with the objective to work out effective strategies for civil society contributions to the permanent constitution for RSS.
Civil society members in similar processes, particularly in Africa, gathered at the symposium to exchange experiences and lessons learned, to support and strengthen the way the RSS civil society approaches the critical steps ahead.
The symposium also aimed to increase the capacity of youth and women in civil society, through sharing comparative constitution building practices in these areas.
Questions at the symposium addressed: Is there an actual legal basis for civil society participation and what does it require? Is access to critical information transparent and permits accurate preparation, analysis and problem-solving? Can the key institutions overseeing the process also be made accountable to make procedures available that permits participation, preferably on a basis of equality of opportunity to be heard?
The South Sudanese civil society participants at the symposium are to harness information and the new-found knowledge from the discussions, so they can select what will work in their own context, based on a realistic analysis of strengths, weaknesses and process gaps.
Symposium in Juba, South Sudan, on 26 – 28 August 2013, Photo ©: IDEA