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Decentralization in Unitary States Constitutional Frameworks for the Middle East and North Africa

Constitutional Transitions, International IDEA and the United Nations Development Programme are  proud to announce the release of the last three reports in the series of thematic, comparative research reports on issues in constitutional design that have arisen in the wake of the Arab Spring. The three reports address timely issues, which impact the MENA region and beyond, and will be of use to scholars, researchers, policy makers, constitutional drafters, judges, and advocates. The issues in the three reports, corruption, natural resources, and decentralization, have been catalysts for the recent social movements in the region. The reports study existing frameworks within the region, including some of the new constitutions that were drafted since the uprisings began in late 2010, as well as a large number of comparative examples from other jurisdictions, to determine what lessons exist for the broader region. 

These reports are jointly published by Constitutional Transitions, International IDEA, and the United Nations Development Programme. They were prepared by the Center for Constitutional Transitions, with the assistance of students of the New York University School of Law, as well as jurists and policy makers from the Arab region, South Africa, Canada, and across the globe. The drafting process involved input, discussions and debates from a large number of institutions and individuals from across the Arab region, North America, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. The United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Center played a key role in providing both material and substantive support for these three reports. These reports will be used as engagement tools in support of constitution-building activities in the region.

This report, Decentralization in Unitary States: Constitutional Frameworks for the Arab States Region, explores the important issue of how decentralization can be implemented in unitary countries to deepen democratic values and improve the quality of life and human security in neglected communities. The report addresses the benefits of decentralization to the MENA region and how constitutional incorporation of various principles can increase opportunities for decentralization and help improve standards of living throughout the region. 

Other reports in the series are Constitutional Courts after the Arab Spring: Appointment mechanisms and relative judicial independence (April 2014), Semi-Presidentialism as Power Sharing: Constitutional reform after the Arab Spring (April 2014), and Political Party Finance Regulation: Constitutional reform after the Arab Spring (April 2014). 

The Arabic version of the reports are available online at <> and <>.

To read this report in Arabic, click here.


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International IDEA

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