Who We Are


The Forum is an international organization that develops and shares comparative expertise on the practice of federal and decentralized governance through a global network.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Forum is to strengthen inclusive and responsive governance, including pluralism and gender equality, in federal, decentralized, and transitioning countries.

The Forum Advantage

The Forum has a practical, problem-solving approach to achieving results. Since its founding nearly two decades ago, it has supported governments and citizens around the world through capacity building and the provision of expertise and impartial practical education.

The Forum Advantage: Hands-on Experience and High-level Expertise

The Forum brings the world’s leading experts together with the “practitioners” of government: elected officials, civil servants, and political operatives. The Forum’s direct relationship with governments on each continent makes it uniquely placed to promote intergovernmental learning by working in tandem with its partner governments.

Alongside its work with key governance practitioners, the Forum also supports civil society stakeholders, enhancing understanding and building the capacity of citizens to operate in multilevel systems. Working through its extensive network of local partners, the Forum provides learning and knowledge to facilitate the participation of civil society in the multilevel governance processes which impact their lives.

The comparative approach and methodology utilized within the Forum’s work draws on its global network to promote learning and capacity building with excellence.

The comparative methodology utilized by the Forum in the implementation of its activities is based on the core principle of “Learning from Each Other”. Drawing on its unparalleled global network of multilevel governance experts, research organizations, and local partners, the Forum facilitates the sharing of experiences and insights to promote empirically-grounded learning and capacity building. Acting as a curator of knowledge, the Forum ensures governance stakeholders have the relevant theoretical and practical information necessary to develop and improve multilevel governance systems. Through liaising with local partners, situational analysis, and stakeholder consultation, the Forum closely tailors its support to local demand and contexts.

Our Core Principle: “Learning From Each Other”

Bridging the worlds of academic research and real-world practice, the Forum approach leverages the synergies between its Policy and Development Assistance activities to continuously inform and renew its body of cutting edge intellectual capital on multilevel governance. The Forum’s unique expert network and comparative approach supports those operating at the forefront of multilevel governance development.

History of the Forum of Federations

The Forum was established by the Government of Canada. The inaugural International Conference on Federalism held in 1999 at Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada led to the founding of the Forum as an institution based in Ottawa. Four consecutive International Conferences were subsequently held in Switzerland, Belgium, India, and Ethiopia.

Following the 2005 Conference held in Brussels, a number of countries joined the Forum as funding partners, establishing it as a membership-based international organization.

As of 2017, ten governments had signed agreements as partners of the Forum and are represented on the Forum’s Strategic Council and Board of Directors, supporting the activities of the organization and providing expertise. These countries are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Switzerland. Over the years the Forum has expanded the scope of its work from established federal countries to include nation states in post-conflict situations adopting federal forms of governance and those involved in processes of devolution and decentralization. Growth led to the expansion of the organization to a range of countries around the world. As of December 2017, the Forum had field offices and/or representation in Brazil, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Jordan, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Tunisia.