The Forum of Federations, in collaboration with MoFAGA and the Government of Province 2 with funding provided by Governance Facility, held an historic intergovernmental gathering in Nepal which detailed processes and issues related to transition in different decentralized democratic countries.
On the first day, leaders from all levels of government detailed their experiences in federal transition and their governance challenges. The ambition was to ensure exchange between all spheres of government prompting discussion and interaction – crucial in any federation.
The objective of the interaction was to set a comparative tone related to Nepal’s unique transition which would provide a sense of familiarity in need and purpose for the Nepal audience; this way investing audience interest and participation. The event featured transition and governance experience from Canada, Kenya, India and South Africa.
One of the pillars of the engagement was that on Intergovernmental Relations and its Practices – Making Federalism Work; and indeed was a feature theme reflected throughout all of the presentations from the team of experts assembled for this activity.
The second day of the activity was focussed on the administrative practices in each of the case studies of focus, Kenya and South Africa. Fiscal Commissioner Rose Osoro of Kenya shared transitional administrative experiences, building capacity at county and local levels, allocation and financing of fiscal power. This was followed by South African presentation on the purpose of IGR mechanisms, breaking the concepts down to simple questions and approaches, as well as providing examples of how IGR works in practice.
During the final session of the day the audience was asked to address any issue at all that was of concern to the leaders and experts assembled – any issue at all that they were confronting or found challenging in their roles and tasks. These questions were answered as a collective panel in a Q&A session. This provided a rich source of questions and information related to the challenges being experiences by elected officials and administrators in Province, particularly in relation to local level administration and the roles and jurisdictions of the local sphere of government in Nepal’s new federation.
Importantly, the event attracted substantial attendance and intensive interaction; with the strong participation of women as key role players in Nepal’s new federal governance structure.
The Chief Minister of Province # 2, Lalbabu Raut, in his keynote speech extolled the historic challenge and importance of devolving powers to all federal entities, at this first gathering of officials from all three levels of government in Province 2, there to discuss federal transition and coordination.
The Chief Minister outlined the challenge facing governments in implementing federalism and the need for cooperation and coordination in order to make federalism credible and provide for services to its citizens. He acknowledged the difficulty that many faced in transitional periods, the challenge of the status quo versus reformist, the handing over of power, which was the biggest hurdle to implementing federalism, “fast results are expected from the public, without support this will be very difficult, and the spirit of federalism may be in grave trouble – in many ways the future of federalism depends on Province 2”.
Chief Attorney General of Province # 2 Dipendra Jha, as well as senior representatives of the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Provincial Members of Province # 2, Mayors and Deputy Mayors of different municipalities in Province # 2, Chair and Vice Chairpersons of different rural municipalities of Province # 2 were all key participants and important partners in the transition to federalism in that province.
The event was a great success and provided important insight into federal governance at this first interaction between all three spheres of government in Province 2.
Photos from the event