Forum’s workshop on Federalism trains women in South Sudan

The Forum’s workshop in Sudan, "Understanding Federalism” targets on empowering Southern Sudanese women.

Forum of Federations Discusses Federal and Decentralized Governance Options with Women Political Leaders in South Sudan

The Forum of Federations, in partnership with the Southern Sudanese Women’s Peace Forum and the International Republican Institute (IRI), held a 3-day workshop on "Understanding Federalism” in Juba, Southern Sudan. The workshop took place from June 23rd 25th, 2011.

The event aimed at empowering Southern Sudanese women parliamentarians, senior women government officials, women civil society representatives and political parties to contribute to future constitutional discussions and development by sharing knowledge on comparative constitution making, federalism, decentralization, and other federal-decentralized experiences and options.

Participants in the Workshop on "Understanding Federalism” in Sudan

To date, a transitional constitution has been extensively deliberated on and adopted by the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, where issues of federalism and decentralization were at the forefront of heated debates. This transitional constitution will provide the governing framework for an independent South Sudan for the next four years. In the meantime, the process of drafting a permanent constitution is expected to begin now that South Sudan has become an independent country.

The workshop was inaugurated by Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly Speaker Rt. Hon. James Wani Igga. In his address, the Speaker underlined the importance of federal and decentralized governance concepts and how they could help Southern Sudan in making informed decisions on what form of government the newly independent nation will choose.

In a unique way, the workshop also incorporated specific discussion on the connection of gender and federalism by addressing the policy impact of federal structures for women, the impact of such structures on the political participation of women, as well as the gender dimension of constitution making.

Participants in the Workshop on "Understanding Federalism” in Sudan

An international team of experts included Dr. Johanne Poirier, a professor of comparative law, comparative federalism, public law at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, where she also co-directs the Center for Public Law; Dr. Marie-Joelle Zahar, associate professor of Political Science at the Universite de Montreal, Montreal, Canada; and Dr. Michael Bell, a research scientist at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP) at George Washington University in Washington DC, USA. In addition, Hon. Dr. Richard K. Mulla, Member of the South Sudan Parliament, presented a paper on constitutional development in South Sudan.

The Forum plans to continue engaging with a broad range of partners, including women political leaders, government officials, party members, and civil society, to help provide critical knowledge and policy options around fundamental governance choices as South Sudan courageously faces the process of forging the word’s newest nation.

The event was a part of the Forum’s Canadian Government funded ‘Support to Federal Decentralization Policy and Negotiations in Sudan’ project.

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