Constitutionalism and Development in Asia - 3rd Research Group Meeting

April 24 Tuesday


April 24 - 25, 2018





On 24-25 April 2018, the Rule of Law Programme Asia organised the 3rd Research Group meeting on Constitutionalism in Asia.

Also available in Deutsch

The 3rd Workshop of the KAS Research Group “Constitutionalism in Asia” focused on “Constitutionalism and Development in Asia” and analysed theoretical, comparative and country-specific approaches to both these topics. Participants from Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam looked at the normative relationship between constitutionalism and development, and addressed comparative questions, considering the ways in which different constitutions in Asia deal with developmental issues. They also presented case-studies, asking how constitutions of specific countries address or should address developmental matters. The Research Group “Constitutionalism in Asia” comprises academics and expert practitioners from the Asia region and Australia, led by KAS ROLPA.

Asia is a good place to study constitutionalism and development. Many Asian countries are struggling with constitutional reforms and socio-economic development at the same time. The turn of the twenty-first century has witnessed considerable attention among academics and policy makers on the role of constitutional law in socio-economic development.

This workshop adopted a broad approach to development and particularly considered the context of developing countries with - in most cases – a colonial history. Accordingly, development refers to both economic growth and different aspects of human development, such as poverty reduction, gender equality, and human freedom, among others. Participants discussed how constitutionalism addresses developmental issues in constitution-making and amendments, in the design of constitutional institutions and their approach to developmental matters, as well as with regard to constitutional rights and socio-economic principles. It was acknowledged that the very notions and concepts behind constitutionalism and development both are evolving and have different connotations depending on the context.

Participants noted that there can only be successful development if its benefits are distributed to the society as a whole. This demonstrated the importance of developmental operativity, where empowering individuals and communities plays an important role. It was agreed that there was a need to approach education and training from an inter-disciplinary perspective, bridging the divide between law, economics and other fields, which in reality can be quite a challenge. Rule of law as a factor creates more sustainable development, even if it may take longer to see its positive effects. The important role of the courts in interpreting constitutionalism and development was highlighted, but so was the need not to have too many expectations on the courts alone, as they could not be expected to take all the responsibility where other state organs fail.

Contact person

Gisela Elsner

Head of the Rule of Law Programme Asia

Gisela Elsner
Phone +65 6603 6171
Fax +65 6603 6170
Languages: Deutsch,‎ Español,‎ English