Conference on Federalism for Somalia

Two Round conference on Federalism for Somalia requested from the Somalia government authorities was made during the reporting period to support them in the areas of constitutional and political federalism issues, which are deemed fundamental in the country. The request came from the Federal Government of Somalia senior leadership (including the prime minister and other agencies engaged in rebuilding Somalia Federalism in general is poorly understood by the general public in Somalia and needs to be demystified through learning from different types of federal governance through creating opportunities and forums such as this conference. This high level conference was conducted at the UNECA conference hall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 2014. The conference was conducted in partnership with the IGAD Secretariat, World Bank, UNECA and other Non-Governmental cosponsors. The conference discussed key but wider issues that are pertinent to federalism in Somalia.   The conference offered a forum for prominent Somali stakeholders to participate in more focused and in-depth in an objective manner and informative and civil setting. The conference platform was for knowledge sharing and narrowing the options of available federation models that would facilitate a consensus among the stakeholders in Somalia. It was not intended to be prescriptive or to determine a single outcome, before the political decisions are considered at the appropriate forum. The participants attributed Somalia as a country in progress to secure peace and stability, observed prospect for economic growth, underscored the need to enhance horizontal federal relationship and to Strengthening institutions at all levels; division of expenditure responsibilities; division of taxation power; Responsible and accountable financial management system; Building capacity at all levels (Functional public sector). The participants identified the following as issues requiring further discussion and consultations:(i) Deciding on the devolution of power (Division of Functions, Authority and Resources; (ii) Gaps in the Provisional Constitution and Harmonizing States Constitutions with the Federal one; (iii) Reconciliation and Trust Building; (iv) Regional State Formation (what should be the base for regional boundaries?; (v) Types and Modalities of Fiscal Federalism and Resource Sharing; and (vi) Form of the final government: Parliamentary/Presidential. Setting up the institutions envisaged in the provisional constitution are emphasized as immediate issues in the constitutional making process, including : State and Border Commission; Election Commission; Harmonization Committee; Clarity in terms of division of functions at all levels of government; Need for social reconciliation at local levels; Forming Forum for Federation of Somalia. Several other regional and international organizations have taken a stake to make the conference a success and the conference was attended by over 230 people most of them from Somalia and its Diaspora. HESPI Acknowledges with thanks the contributions made at the conference by the participants, the speakers and panelists, and the cosponsoring institutions and agencies. HESPI management and staff will shortly issue the proceedings of the conference. The conference informed the participants about various federalism practices, approaches, and institutional governance frameworks. It was guided by experts from academia, policy makers and international experts on federalism governance; on differing power sharing aspects, fiscal federalism including resources and revenue sharing attracted 130 participants from all walks of life in Somalia: including senior officials, political leaders and eminent personalities; academicians and experts on federalism; and representatives from African and other federal states.