PILPG (The Public International Law & Policy Group) in Bosnia and Herzegovina on August 15, 2013 organized a workshop on the participatory constitutional reform process in Iceland that was held in Sarajevo and attended by Populari’s researcher Katarina Cvikl.
Silja Omarsdottir of University of Iceland first spoke about the Icelandic socio-economic context and the problem with the Icelandic constitution. She then shared the experience from their attempt to reform the constitution with the participation of citizens. During the debate with 12 NGO representatives, Valery Perry of the PILPG drew lessons for constitutional reform in BiH. The discussion found that although the two countries are very much different, the internal political dynamics offer similar lessons to reform initiatives in the BiH context.
Participants in the discussion also found that the experience from Iceland demonstrates how although drafting an entirely new constitution can initially have a positive impact on the level of interest in the process, a step-by-step approach should be more effective in promoting change. To maintain public interest in the long-run, clear engagement strategies along with two-way consultation and communication with citizens should be taken upon.
More details on the workshop can be downloaded below: