On January 19-20, 2017, the Forum gathered an eminent group of German and international experts to analyse the current state of Germany’s federal system and to provide an outlook towards the future at a two-day conference hosted by the German Bundesrat. The Bundesrat is Germany’s chamber representing its 16 states, or Länder, as they are called.
The Forum’s Director of Programs in Asia and Australia, Phillip Gonzalez, presented at the Global Autonomy and Governance Forum in Manila, Philippines.
Political Accommodation and Reconciliation in Somalia
A nine-member high level Ethiopian government delegation visited New Delhi on 11 December 2016 on a ten-day experience-sharing international programme on ‘Inter Governmental Relations and Practices of Fiscal Federalism’. The programme was sponsored by the Government of Federal Democratic of Republic of Ethiopia, the UNDP and the Forum of Federations (FOF) of which India is a member and represented by the Inter State Counc…il Secretariat, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Government of India.
The current year marks a period of consolidation for the Forum of Federations. Through its foundational programs in support of countries transitioning to federal or decentralized governance models the Forum has built a reputation as a credible source for comparative international expertise on building peaceful pluralism. Ongoing programs in Tunisia, Burma (Myanmar), Nepal, and Ethiopia assisted a number of these countries achieve major political and constitutional milestones. A pilot program in Somalia has laid the groundwork for long term engagement in that country’s federalization process, as has the Forum’s support to IGAD’s Federal-Decentralized Governance Network. The Forum worked closely with a number of stakeholders to deliver major research programs in support of policy making in partner countries. Programs addressing the institutional choices for bridging territorial cleavages, intergovernmental relations, and fiscal federalism were at the heart of these efforts. New programs on education and federalism, and immigration and integration, have also been launched with promising starts. The intellectual capital produced by these programs allows the Forum to remain at the cutting edge of federalism expertise, while also bolstering its development assistance activities.
On November 1-5, a Yemeni delegation headed by former Prime minister and Vice-President of Yemen, HE Khaled Bahah, visited Germany. The purpose of the visit was to have an exchange with representatives of various governmental and non-governmental organizations on current developments in Yemen and what could be done to promote peace and reconciliation in Yemen. A specific focus was laid on studying German federal structures to explore which lessons could be drawn for Yemen.
A Public Lecture by Professor Neophytos Loizides
3-7 October, Ottawa and Montreal
Between 26 and 30 September, Forum representatives Mr. Rupak Chattopadhyay, President and CEO, Mr. Hans Altherr, Forum Swiss Board Member, and Diana Chebenova, Head of Partnerships undertook a visit to Brasilia, Brazil with the purpose of engaging with different Forum partner institutions in the country. The visit was coordinated by the Undersecretariat for Federative Affairs (SAF) of the Brazilian Presidency, Forum’s main partner within the Brazilian government, under the guidance of its Brazilian Board member Ms. Ana Carolina Lorena.
An international seminar on urban policy was held at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) that focused on the development of the City Statute and the New Urban Agenda with focus on the UN Urban Habitat III Conference held in October 2016 in Ecuador.
The Forum of Federations was invited to participate in a conference organized by the Peace Research Institute Oslo and the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation held in Nicosia on September 15, 2016. The conference aimed to explore the prospects and challenges regarding education in a post-settlement Cyprus.
Organized by both Forum of Federations Myanmar Office and the Amyothar Hluttaw on August 23 and 24 in Nay Pyi Taw. The forum was made in the Amyothar Hluttaw Dining Hall. Forum of Federations is proud to participate and help Myanmar lawmakers during their transition to Federalism.
“Check out the new Forum of Federations Facebook page from Myanmar!
Zeroing In on the Best Practices of Federalism – Forum on Federalism and Constitutional Reform
The Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management (SIAM) of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) invites scholars and practitioners to submit proposals for papers to be presented at the 4th annual Deil S. Wright Symposium. The symposium honors the career and contributions of Professor Deil S. Wright, who was a charter member of the Section and remained active until his passing in 2009. The Wright Symposium will be a preconference event held on Friday, March 17, 2017 at the national conference of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Forum of Federations, in collaboration with Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia, recently conducted a four-day federalism leadership development rollout event in Adama, Ethiopia (28th June to 1 July, 2016).
The objective of the study tour was to closely study and draw lessons from the system of intergovernmental relations (IGR) of the German and Swiss Federations. Specifically, the study tour helped examine and draw lesson on the issue of accountability in IGR, the place and role of judicial organs, and the mechanism by which the overall system of intergovernmental relations is coordinated.
The video portrays the transition to democratic federalism in Nepal, as of the spring of 2016. It endeavours to portray the very great range of opinion that exists in Nepal among the numerous groups and political actors. Perhaps more importantly, it also aims to explain the nature of the federal system that is now being implemented in Nepal.
As part of its outreach campaign, the Forum recently implemented federalism workshops for community leaders in Mandalay in cooperation with EBO (Euro Burma Office) and two local NGOs. The workshop was facilitated by local trainers who had successfully graduated from the Forum of Federation’s “Training-of-Trainers” seminar, a program designed to equip local trainers with the skills to deliver federalism courses.
Decentralization: A five part educational video series produced by the Forum of Federations
Thomas Pfisterer is a former judge of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court and has served for 25 years in the Swiss judicial system. He was also a Member and President of the Canton of Aargau and a member of the Swiss Senate. He taught Constitutional and Administrative Law and Mediation at the University of Saint Gallen. A graduate of Basle, Berne, Yale and the Swiss Bar Association, Prof. Pfisterer is an Attorney at Law and expert in law and politics and also served on the Board of the Forum of Federations.
May 3, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada
On March 29, 2016, Forum of Federations with School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation jointed hosted a seminar titled: Financial Governance Reform In Multi-Level Systems of Government. This forum was located in Stellenbosch, South Africa as a pre-conference event prior to the bi-annual International Winelands Conference.
During a special trip to Myanmar on April 6-7 2016, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion announced Canada’s commitment to the Forum’s new project supporting the development of federalism in the country.
The Forum of Federations and the Gimenez Abad Foundation in Zaragoza (Spain) organized a 2-day conference on Federalism and Education: Governance, Standards, and Innovation for the 21st Century, held in Zaragoza, Spain on 4 and 5 April, 2016. Particular attention was given to functional division of responsibilities between governmental layers and to mechanisms of intergovernmental cooperation in education. The conference took place in the framework of the program with the same name that examines how 10 (ten) federal and decentralized countries design, govern, finance and assure quality in their educational systems spanning from early childhood to secondary school graduation.
The Smart City Expo Puebla, held in the city of Puebla from February 16-18, 2016, brought together over 8000 experts and public officials from 36 countries to examine how local governments can innovate to provide improved service delivery, mobility and quality of life. Organized in partnership with FIRA Barcelona, the Government of Mexico, the State of Puebla and the City of Puebla, the Expo focused on themes of sustainability, equity, participation and mobility, and featured numerous case studies of successful experiences from the Americas.
The Forum recently held a workshop, in conjunction with the Ministry of Interior & Federal Affairs (Federal Government of Somalia), on Intergovernmental Relations in Somalia, which took place in Nairobi 21-24 March 2016.
Women in Nepal have played an important role in the nation’s history, more recently being a significant part of the two Constituent Assemblies (CAs) that drafted Nepal’s federal constitution. Women’s presence in the CAs assured that the issues of diversity and inclusion from a gender equality perspective were included in the final constitution. The challenge ahead is to implement the constitution and create government bodies and design policies that would assure women’s rights as embodied in the constitution.
The Forum in collaboration with the Nepal Bar Association held a Citizen’s Forum on Federal Judicial Systems and Constitutional Dynamics.
On December 3-5 the Forum of Federations, in collaboration with the Tunisian Ministry in charge of relations with Constitutional Bodies and Civil Society, organized a workshop for members of constitutional bodies and civil society.
Bob Rae speaks to group on the “Federal Idea”
The Forum of Federations launched a new program on Somalia over 12-14 January with a workshop entitled Joint Program on Federal Governance in Somalia, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior & Federal Affairs (MOIFA). Senior officials attended the event from all the Somali regions, interim member states and key federal government offices, led by the State Minister for MOIFA, HE Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig. In his opening remarks the Minister urged the participants to “… work hard in making this sharing of international experiences relevant to the real issues affecting Somalia today.”
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Ron Watts. Ron Watts was one of the founders of the Forum of Federations. He served as a Board Member of the Forum between 1999 and 2006 and as Forum’s fellow from 2006 onwards.
Germany joined the organization in 2007 and is represented in the Forum by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The Federal Foreign Office as well as the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development also support the Forum. In addition, the Forum holds close working relations with the Bundesrat (Federal Council), the German states (Länder).
Forum Program Head Felix Knuepling participated in an international conference on “Federalism and Decentralisation: Perceptions for Political and Institutional Reforms” on the 4th and 5th of September in Manila, Philippines. Mr. Knuepling gave a presentation entitled “Structuring Governance in a Weak State: Federalism and Multilevel Governance”, based on the experience and the lessons the Forum has garnered during its work in post-conflict and fragile countries, such as Iraq, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Yemen and others.
The Forum of Federations, in collaboration with Ethiopia’s House of Federation, held a workshop titled “Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Systems and Practices in Ethiopia” in Bahir-Dar, Ethiopia June 27-28, 2015.
Under the auspices of the Tunisian Ministry of Women, Family and Children, the Forum of Federations (The Forum) held a workshop in Kairouan in the center west of Tunisia. This activity was undertaken as part of the Forum’s Project “Support for Decentralization in Tunisia Phase III” funded by the Government of Canada. The Kairouan workshop took place from 21 to 23 May 2015 and was the second in a series of five workshops aimed at establishing a dialogue with Tunisian civil society on the role that civil society can play in the process of implementing the Tunisian decentralization process as well as the role that women can have through increased involvement and participation in local governance. The event brought together active members of civil society in the region, representatives of the Ministry of Women, Family and Children and four Forum regional and Tunisian decentralisation and gender experts.
The Forum of Federations in collaboration with the Ministry of Interprovincial Coordination and the Hanns Seidel Foundation hosted a Leadership Summit on Federalism on the 12-13 November in Islamabad.