Our aim in this section is to provide context and information on the Icelandic constitutional processes of 2010 to 2012 and the current efforts to revise the constitution that started in 2018. The DCD’s primary focus is on researching the public’s participation in constitution making and what can be learned from the two Icelandic efforts. An understanding of the 2010 to 2012 constitutional process is not only necessary to understand the challenges current efforts face, but it also offers valuable normative and empirical insights into public consultation, that are relevant to democratic participation in general.
For context and sources on the Icelandic constitution see here:
Constitutional revision in Iceland
Resources – International
Research resources on constitutions and constitutional change:
The Constitution Net The Constitution Net is a project created to support legislators, constitutional lawyers and other constitutional practitioners in finding useful and relevant information, sharing knowledge and building a community of best practice. http://constitutionnet.org
The Constitutional Council established an electronic library to support its constitutional work. A variety of materials are gathered there, covering both academic discussion and media debate on constitutional issues.
Indriði Indriðason, professor of political science at the University of California – Riverside published a list of reading material on his website in 2010 as “obligatory readings” intended for those planning to revise the Constitution.
Constitutional revision is just one of the many democratic spheres where public participation as been gaining traction over the last decades. However, many of the ways in which authorities have employed to consult the public are scalable and adaptable to all levels of government. In the new report, States of Participation: International Best Practice in Civic Engagement, Liam O’Farrell, Researcher at the DCD, provides an overview of many of the most prominent methods and examples from different countries. This section contains excerpts from the report plus additional materials from the DCD team.
The following sections introduce different forms of civic engagement, with two case studies for each. There are of course many more case studies that could have been chosen, or alternative methods of engagement that could have been highlighted. These examples are not intended to be exhaustive, but instead to be a starting point that demonstrates the range of methods that are used across the world and highlight some of the successes of each, along with challenges they have encountered.
Further research needs to be done on civic engagement methods that are used in less-developed countries, with particular attention on low-cost solutions that have been used for public engagement in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The examples given in this report focus almost exclusively on Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Furthermore, the significance of local culture and factors such as religion, language, and history cannot be overlooked when considering politics and engagement. What works in Iceland would likely not work in Madagascar without being adapted to local conditions, for instance. These limitations notwithstanding, it is hoped that the examples provided below can inspire further research and exploration of this topic.