Felix Knuepling, Head of Programs from the Forum of Federations talks during the training session.
In the framework of its program "Enabling Burma’s Move towards Democracy” the Forum aimed at increasing the capacity of ethnic groups working inside or outside the country to meaningful participate in the discussions on federalism in Burma. This program is supported by the Government of Canada (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development).
The Forum’s work with the Burmese diaspora aimed to train 20 senior leaders of Ethnic Armed Groups (EAGs) and 28 members of the Burmese diaspora civil society community on federalism. To achieve this goal, the Institute held two three-day workshops from Nov 29 December 4, 2013 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, close to the border with Burma. The two trainings were organized in collaboration with Euro Burma Office (EBO) whose work is to promote the development of democracy in Burma;
The trainings were facilitated by Sandeep Shastri (Jain University, Bangalore), Indraneel Datta (The Habibie Centre, Jakarta) and Felix Knuepling (Forum of Federations).
The Forum’s workshop resulted in a diverse makeup of participants that represented a range of political and civil society organizations. The workshop provided participants with in-depth knowledge on federalism and constitutional reform. The sessions led to rigorous discussion and debate on the potential application and impact of implementing federal system reforms in Burma; for instance, topics of discussion surrounding federalism included the distribution of wealth and natural resources among states, taxation at the national level versus the state level, making states based on ethnicity versus geography, risk of secessionist movements, legal/constitutional requirements for creating new states, and residual powers.