UN Experts Team Assesses Needs for Constitutional Reform in Guyana

 

A United Nations team of experts visited Guyana in February to explore the needs for constitutional reform.

The visit followed a formal request from the Government of Guyana for support in the constitutional reform process, highlighting the United Nations’ significant global expertise in the area of constitutional reform.

The mission visited Guyana from 5th-10th February 2017, composed of Gerardo Noto, Regional Governance Advisor (UNDP – Panama), and constitutional experts Jason Gluck (UNDP – New York) and Rohan Edrisinha (UN Department of Political Affairs – New York).

Within a short timeframe, the mission met and discussed with the Prime Minister, Ministers and Senior Advisors, the Speaker of the National Assembly and MPs, the Leader and senior members of the Opposition, Constitutional Rights Commissions members, GECOM Chairman, a broad spectrum of leaders and activists of Civil Society Organizations, from religious groups, Indigenous peoples, women, youth, workers and the private sector, international partners, as well as scholars and experts, some of them directly involved in the last constitutional reform exercise of 1999-2001. Additional consultations will be conducted with diaspora organizations.

UN experts identified a wide consensus on the need for constitutional reform among national stakeholders. National actors acknowledged the challenges to advance constitutional reform because it demands not only full engagement and inclusion of all national stakeholders, but also consensus among political actors.

There was strong demand for an inclusive, transparent, and participatory process. Particular interest on citizen awareness and capacity development was displayed by civil society organizations.

Stakeholders acknowledged long-term UN assistance in Guyana and looked forward to benefit from its experience in supporting constitutional reform and tap into other countries’ good practices.

The mission members will analyze the rich information shared by stakeholders and provide guidance to UN decision-makers as regards technical support for the constitutional reform process in Guyana, which is to be nationally driven and owned.

 

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