Multimedia Resources

In 2015 International IDEA developed three whiteboard animation videos seeking to contribute to civic education in support of constitution-building processes. These videos explain the basic concepts of constitutionalism and constitution building to non-specialist audiences, with an emphasis on helping citizens to understand what a constitution is and does, how constitutions are made, and why the constitution is relevant to their lives.

International IDEA has now developed two additional whiteboard animation videos explaining what federalism is and why federalism could be a good option in particular settings. These videos explain the core components of a federal constitution, and some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing such a system.

The videos are designed to be viewed online and shared through social media, but could also be used in more structured settings, such as a workshop or seminar, to provide a good general introduction to the subject on which to base further discussions or activities. 

Constitution Building
What are Constitutions?
These whiteboard animation videos are part of International IDEA’s contribution to civic education in support of constitution-building processes. They explain the basic concepts of constitutionalism and constitution building to non-specialist audiences, w
d
What are Constitutions?

These whiteboard animation videos are part of International IDEA’s contribution to civic education in support of constitution-building processes. They explain the basic concepts of constitutionalism and constitution building to non-specialist audiences, with an emphasis on helping citizens to understand what a constitution is and how constitutions are made, and why the constitution is relevant to their lives. The videos are designed to be viewed online and shared through social media, but could also be used in more structured settings, such as a workshop or seminar, to provide a good general introduction to the subject on which to base further discussions or activities.

Key Messages:

  • We need government, but government must be controlled if it is to serve the people.
  • Constitution is a supreme law that is binding even on the government.
  • A constitution organises and constrains power.
  • A constitution defines a state and the rights of its citizen.
  • In a democratic order, the Constitution ensures that the people ultimately control the Government.

 

How are Constitutions made?
Constitutions often claim to be made by “we the people” but what does that mean? This video is a simple introduction to how democratic constitutions are made.
d
How are Constitutions made?

Constitutions often claim to be made by “we the people” but what does that mean? This video is a simple introduction to how democratic constitutions are made. Emphasizing that broad agreement and public support are key to success, it discusses ways in which the people (all the people, including minorities and marginalized groups) can have an active voice in the constitution-building process. This may take place through inclusive membership of a representative constitution-making body as well as through systematic public engagement and dialogue amongst the wider society. Because building broad agreement on the constitution will involve much discussion and negotiation, and many compromises, the process of constitution-building can take several years. It may start with preliminary discussions long before the text of a constitution can be drafted and will continues, through the implementation phase, long after the constitution has been approved. As such, it is important to carefully plan the various stages of the process, and to reach an inclusive agreement about the process itself if it is to have a good chance of coming to a successful conclusion.

Why do Constitutions matter?
This video discusses in easy-to-understand terms why constitutions are important, and the effects of constitutional change. It recognizes that constitutional change does not solve all the problems of society, and that the benefits of constitutionalism are
d
Why do Constitutions matter?

This video discusses in easy-to-understand terms why constitutions are important, and the effects of constitutional change. It recognizes that constitutional change does not solve all the problems of society, and that the benefits of constitutionalism are mostly long term and indirect. Nevertheless, using the fictional but typical example of ‘Ruritania’, it shows how successful constitutional change can make important improvements to the functioning of democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and good governance. This improves the ability and willingness of those exercising power to use their power for the benefit of society, which in turn can impact upon economic matters, the delivery of public services, and day-to-day policies. Thus it argues that, if done well and sustained over time, constitutional change can be transformative in the lives of ordinary citizens.

Federalism
What is Federalism?
These videos explain the core components of a federal constitution, and some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing such a system. They are meant to simplify often complex concepts, to make them understandable to the general public.
d
What is Federalism?

These videos explain the core components of a federal constitution, and some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing such a system. They are meant to simplify often complex concepts, to make them understandable to the general public. Some of the key messages in the videos include:

  • Federalism provides a way for different groups of people in different parts of the country to live together
  • Federal systems have at least two levels of government, the central level and a second level that includes territorial entities into which the country is divided, e.g. regions, states, provinces.
  • Federalism provides ways by which these different groups share power over common interests, but it also provides for these groups to have a level of autonomy vis-à-vis central state institutions
  • Federations are protected by a constitution regarding ways in which power is shared in central state institutions, but also regarding the powers and responsibilities of both the central state and provinces, states or regions.
  • But federalism is not a panacea. There are specific challenges that federalism alone cannot resolve, e.g. how to protect minorities, or the fact that federalism can be expensive as you need to build institutions not only and the central, but also at the region, state, provincial level. Sometimes the different levels have difficulties coordinating policies or policy responses, such as to pandemics or natural disasters.

 

Why Federalism?
These videos explain the core components of a federal constitution, and some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing such a system. They are meant to simplify often complex concepts, to make them understandable to the general public.
d
Why Federalism?

These videos explain the core components of a federal constitution, and some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing such a system. They are meant to simplify often complex concepts, to make them understandable to the general public. Some of the key messages in the videos include:

  • Federalism provides a way for different groups of people in different parts of the country to live together
  • Federal systems have at least two levels of government, the central level and a second level that includes territorial entities into which the country is divided, e.g. regions, states, provinces.
  • Federalism provides ways by which these different groups share power over common interests, but it also provides for these groups to have a level of autonomy vis-à-vis central state institutions
  • Federations are protected by a constitution regarding ways in which power is shared in central state institutions, but also regarding the powers and responsibilities of both the central state and provinces, states, or regions.
  • But federalism is not a panacea. There are specific challenges that federalism alone cannot resolve, e.g. how to protect minorities, or the fact that federalism can be expensive as you need to build institutions not only and the central, but also at the region, state, provincial level. Sometimes the different levels have difficulties coordinating policies or policy responses, such as to pandemics or natural disasters.
Making & Amending the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar: A Timeline

Since independence, Myanmar has had three constitutions, adopted in 1947, 1974 and 2008. The 1947 Constitution was in force between 1948 and 1962, when Myanmar’s Armed Forces led by General Ne Win staged a coup. The 1974 Constitution, which was drafted by the Burma Socialist Programme Party led by President U San Yu, was in force from 1974 until it was suspended in 1988. This Timeline presents the key events of Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution making and amendment processes from 1988 to 2021.

Supported by: Support