Forum holds sessions on inter-governmental relations in Ethiopia

Fasil Nahom centre, adviser to Ethiopian Primer Minister Meles Zenawi, listens intently to panel discussions on Ethiopia’s experience in linking intergovernmental relations to conflict management.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Federal Affairs and the Forum of Federations recently held a series of work sessions over four days for the country’s newly-formed Minister’s Advisory Panel on Intergovernmental Relations.

Dr. Fasil Nahom chaired the panel and several of the meetings. Dr. Fasil is a Minister and Legal Advisor to the Office of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
National experts included several senior staff from the ministry as well as leading academics.

The workshop participants mapped out issues of intergovernmental relations in three broad categories:

* constitution and other driving forces
* institutions and processes
* conflict management

In each category (and their sub-categories) the panel looked at strengths, gaps and priority needs.

The third day of the workshop included the planning of joint activities in a range of areas from research to policy conferences and raising awareness about intergovernmental relations, a key facet of the federal system in Ethiopia, but one that is not yet well understood by policy makers and others.
Dr. Fasil expressed his satisfaction with the event, saying: "this workshop was among the most useful I have ever participated in…I am committed to ensuring this important work gets treated as a high priority. »

He was flanked at the event by Dr. Bertus de Villiers, left, of Australia; and Shawn Houlihan, of the Forum of Federations.

Dr. de Villiers, a resource person at the event, is a member of the State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia. He played a central role on intergovernmental relations and constitutional issues in South Africa for several years.

Mr. Houlihan, the Forum’s Director for Africa, headed the event for the Forum, which took place from March 17–21, 2008.

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