Forum President George Anderson and federalism experts Richard Simeon of the University of Toronto and Prof. Cheryl Saunders of the University of Melbourne participated in a conference organized by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) Office for Constitutional Support (OCS). The conference, titled The Multi-Party Dialogue on Federal Structures and Fiscal Issues, took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with funding from the European Union. It was held Feb. 25 28, 2007. Participants received copies of the Forum’s trilingual DVD, The Challenge of Diversity (in Arabic, Kurdish and English) as well as the Arabic edition of the book Comparing Federal Systems by federalism expert Ronald Watts.
The first dialogue concentrated on the federal structures envisaged in the Iraqi Constitution while the second focused on fiscal arrangements. The dialogues built upon the recently concluded study missions sponsored by UNAMI and the United Nations Office for Project Services to Germany, Spain and Malaysia, giving delegates an opportunity to apply their examination of these federal systems toward elaborating and refining the federal and fiscal architecture of the Iraqi constitution.
Nineteen Iraqi delegates participated in the dialogues, including sixteen members of the Constitutional Review Committee along with advisers to three federal government officials.
Prof. Saunders also participated in a conference for Iraqis organized by UNAMI-OCS in Cairo the month before, speaking about federal adjudication issues and the challenges of administering justice in a federation. Seventeen Iraqi delegates attended the January 2007 conference, including members of the Constitutional Review Committee, the Council of Representatives, the Higher Judicial Council, the Prime Minister’s office, the Kurdistan regional government and the Iraqi civil society and academia.