Mediation Support Unit and Constitutional Assistance

Constitution making is often central to the Mediation Support Unit (MSU)’s overall goal of supporting relevant actors achieve a just and sustainable peace through the pacific settlement of disputes.  Addressing the key drives of intra-state conflict will frequently necessitate some form of constitutional reform, whether this concerns more inclusive governance and access to power and resources, stronger protections for group identity and autonomy, or more robust constraints on executive power.


Even in situations where political differences have not led to the outbreak of violence, constitution making may be a highly contested process and benefit from mediation in order to reach the consensus required to support constitutional change.

Drawing on comparative analysis, MSU provides a range of constitutional assistance to national stakeholders, UN missions and offices and other partners. Through the expertise of a senior in-house adviser, the Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisers and an extensive network, MSU assistance can be provided through remote support, in-country missions or tailored written guidance and includes:

  • Support to constitutional aspects of conflict mediation and peace negotiations, including transitional governance arrangements

  • Advice on the design of constitution-making processes

  • Facilitation of political dialogues during constitutional negotiations

  • Analysis of constitutional texts and advice on options for constitutional design

  • Capacity building for UN officials and national stakeholders engaged in constitution making processes

In recent years, MSU has supported constitutionmaking processes in a variety of contexts around the world, including: the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

MSU has also developed a Primer (together with the Berghof Foundation) which provides in-depth examination of the linkages between constitution making and conflict mediation. The Primer identifies the challenges and opportunities at the nexus of peace processes and constitutions and constitution making, including lessons learned, policy options and their implications for sustaining peace (Available here)

For more information about the DPPA Constitutional Focal Point, please click here.