Government responses to Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a number of exceptional legal/constitutional responses from governments around the world as they seek extraordinary measures to manage the threat. While there are a series of databases which have been established to track these responses, to understand the situation fully a more nuanced, in-depth expertise is required, and this requires in-country expertise.   

This project is the result of a partnership between the New Zealand Centre for Public Law at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, the Center for International and Area Studies at Northwestern University and International IDEA.  


Constitutions are the foundations of many democracies but poorly designed constitutions can increase discord and conflict.

Constitutional change is a central feature of democratic transition, democratic consolidation and conflict management. Yet, there is still relatively little comparative knowledge available for constitution-makers to rely on. This is a critical issue because constitution-makers are usually thrust suddenly into the spotlight without prior training or preparation and must learn quickly, as the consequences at stake are critical to the future of their country.

International IDEA’s Constitution-Building Programme fills this gap by providing knowledge and direct assistance in the area of constitutional transitions, with regards to the processes through which constitutions are made, and the design of the constitution. Our approach emphasizes the importance of national ownership and adapting, not adopting, comparative practice to the specific national context.

Supporting Justice in Conflict and Transition

The Facility on Justice in Conflict and Transition provides short-term support and expert advice in the areas of transitional justice, constitution building and restoration of justice for the population. Through the rapid deployment of its experts to third countries, the Facility on Justice in Conflict and Transition (the Facility) renders strategic and technical advice, helps jump-start short-term projects, and facilitates the identification of opportunities for longer-term involvements.

Both the 2015 EU Policy Framework on Support to Transitional Justice and the 2018 EU Integrated Approach to External Conflicts and Crises underline the importance to embed the EU's support to transitional justice in the wider crisis response, conflict prevention, security and development efforts of the EU.

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The Constitution-Building Programme has four main areas of work:

  1. Acting as a thought-leader and convener in the constitution-building field
  2. Providing in-country technical advice and capacity building
  3. Offering research services and access to comparative information
  4. Supporting constitution-building processes in post-conflict setting


1. Acting as a thought-leader and convener in the constitution-building field

International IDEA operates the largest specialized knowledge generation programme in the area of constitution-building, making the organization a recognized thought-leader and convener in the field. International IDEA uses this status to convene regional and global meetings of experts and practitioners, to bring together organizations working in the field for coordination and information sharing, and to support regional networks.


2. Providing in-country technical advice and capacity building

Building from its broad base of expertise, International IDEA provides direct in-country assistance through recommendations, and the organization of workshops and dialogues for both political leaders, civil society actors and international advisers. Most recently, International IDEA has responded to requests for assistance in Afghanistan, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, Libya, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen. For more information on our trainings, please visit our website.


3. Offering research services and access to comparative information

International IDEA has produced an unparalleled range of knowledge resources in the field of constitution-building. These are available for free download . You can also find explanatory videos here.

International IDEA also provides information and analysis regarding ongoing constitutional processes through the online information portal ConstitutionNet.


4. Supporting constitution-building processes in post-conflict setting

As modern-day violent conflicts are mostly intra-state, rather than inter-state, conflict resolution and sustainable peace building often depends upon a new political settlement, for which constitution-building is central. This is why International IDEA’s Constitution-Building Programme places particular focus on processes of post-conflict constitution-building, in particular how constitutional issues relate to the overarching peace process, and constitutional design for divided societies emerging from conflict.

Tools and Databases


Networks & Partners

African Network of Constitutional Lawyers (ANCL)
Comparative Constitutions Project
Constitution Transformation Network
Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) of The Republic of The Gambia
Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law (ECCL)
Observatorio Nueva Constitución
The Arab Association of Constitutional Law

Contact Us

Sumit Bisarya
Head of Constitution-Building Processes
Bisarya heads International IDEA’s Constitution-Building Programme, which produces global comparative knowledge, conducts policy advocacy within the field of constitution-building and provides technical support to in-country constitution reform programmes. Bisarya also serves as Head of Mission for...