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Strengthening the role of civil society in constitution-building through conducting the informational campaign

Donor: USAID/Pact
Budget: 133583.00 USD
Realization: 15-10-2015-30-06-2016

Problem identification

The lack of a Constitution that enjoys respect and authoritativeness among the society.

The existing Constitution of Ukraine is extremely weak and does not fulfill its role of the country’s Basic Law. Ukraine’s citizens do not believe in the effectiveness of the Constitution, while the government is inclined to violate the Basic Law. The reasons for this have been as follows: 1) violations of the procedure for amending the Constitution of Ukraine by the government (in 2004, 2010, and 2014); 2) inability of the Constitutional Court to protect the Constitution of Ukraine; and 3) civil society’s armed resistance (the Revolution of Dignity) to usurpation of power, demanding a change in government. A new stage in the constitutional development in Ukraine is currently being launched. A required element of successful constitutional reform process is informing the public and engaging independent experts, civic activists, and active students in the process of designing new constitutional norms. At present, there is a lack of openness in the constitutional reform process, inadequate public information on the constitutional processes and the anticipated constitutional changes, and insufficient understanding of the Constitution's role in a society. Additionally, reciprocal feedback mechanisms for civil society to inform the government of necessary constitutional changes in society’s interests have not been developed.

Civil society would not only to participate in the drafting process, delegating experts to committee hearings and commenting on policy proposals, but would also need to monitor the process, periodically publishing reviews that measure what has been and has not been achieved in terms of constitutional reform.

Civil society need to take the lead in the task of widely informing the public and create a real public demand for constitutional changes in society at large, explaining why constitutional changes are needed.

In this regard, within this project we launch an information campaign aimed at objective public outreach on the promotion of constitutional reform and raising the prestige of the Constitution of Ukraine in the society.

Overall purpose

Strengthening the role of the civil society in the constitution building process through the creation of demand for constitutional changes in favour of the interests of society.

Objectives

  1. to hold information campaign at the national level about constitution building process;
  2. to conduct educational campaign in the selected regions on the constitutional changes and constitution building process;
  3. to consolidate position of the expert's community on the balance of powers and to coordinate of the activities with the other civil society organizations in Ukraine focusing on the constitution building process.

Results

  •  61 TV shows were recorded
  • The total number of journalists present at the regional press conferences was 223. 
  • 41 regional journalists participated in a one-day training in Kyiv, which engaged the top experts and journalists in the area of constitutional law.
  • A total of 32 student submissions from 12 cities were received for the students' essay competition student essay competition.
  • A total of 38 articles were published in national-level periodicals, while the information campaign experts took part in 30 TV shows and 16 radio shows.
  • 10 infographics were designed.
  • A total of 9 analytical briefs on the status of constitutional reform in Ukraine were prepared during 2016.
  • A number of events were conducted, including 2 roundtable press conferences, a campaign presentation, a joint press conference with the CSOs coalition “People’s Constitution”, and an awards ceremony for the finalists of student essay competition. Additionally, following the concert celebrating the Constitution’s 20th anniversary, experts spoke with TV channels 1+1, EspresoTV, 24, and 112, as well as with Radio Liberty and Hromadske Radio.
  • Conduct a celebratory public concert performance at the National Philharmonic marking the Constitutions’ 20th anniversary.