Forum of Federations

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Forum of Federations
MottoThe Global Network on Federalism and Devolved Governance
Formation1999 (1999)
Legal statusNot for profit
PurposeEducational events on governance issues; development assistance and publications related to federalism and democracy
Headquarters75 Albert Street
Suite 411
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1P 5E7
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and Switzerland
Official language
(publications) French, English, German, Spanish, Arabic, Nepali, Sinhala and Tamil
Rupak Chattopadhyay
Chairman of the Board
Georg Milbradt

The Forum of Federations is an international organization based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Forum and its partners form a global network on federalism. It brings together elected officials, civil servants and experts in federalism from about 20 countries to learn from each other.[clarification needed] The Forum's learning and technical assistance programs have covered the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, South Sudan, Switzerland, Tunisia and Yemen.


The Forum of Federations is an international network of federal countries, elected officials, civil servants and scholars. The Forum was established by the Government of Canada in 1999 and currently has nine other partner governments: Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and Switzerland. Forum's headquarters are in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and it has field offices in Kathmandu, Nepal, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Yangon, Myanmar.[1]

The Forum runs training and knowledge sharing programs to address governance challenges in existing and emerging federations, as well as in devolved and decentralized countries. The Forum is concerned with the contribution that multi-level government can make to democracy building and democratic consolidation.

• The Forum assists in democracy promotion in fragile states or regions in post-conflict situation. • It provides innovative solutions to challenges posed by multi-level governance in federal, devolved, and decentralized countries. • It focuses on the key issues of local empowerment and federal structures. • It provides expertise that bridges the worlds of academic research and real-world practice.

The Forum runs learning events on federalism, gives technical advice on democratic governance and produces publications for academics and practitioners of federalism. Its activities involve working with government officials[2] as well as academic experts,[3] young professionals,[4] journalists[5] and other civil society organizations. The Forum works globally – in the Americas, in Europe, in Africa, and in Asia-Pacific.


  • Publications: Published series of books on major themes of federalism:[6]
    • Diversity and Unity in Federal Countries, ISBN 978-0-7735-3732-3
    • Local Government and Metropolitan Regions in Federal Systems, ISBN 978-0-7735-3562-6
    • Foreign Relations in Federal Countries, ISBN 978-0-7735-3501-5
    • The Practice of Fiscal Federalism, ISBN 978-0-7735-3301-1
    • Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Governance in Federal Countries, ISBN 978-0-7735-3134-5
    • Distribution of Powers and Responsibilities in Federal Countries, ISBN 978-0-7735-2974-8
    • Constitutional Origins, Structure, and Change in Federal Countries, ISBN 978-0-7735-2849-9
  • Problem-solving: Current or recent projects, as of June 2013, on federalism include courts and judicial systems, water, internal markets, gender and leadership, health care and federalism, joint service delivery, revenue sharing and decentralization, oil and gas, local and metropolitan governance, public security, climate change and environmental governance, benchmarking, immigration, and integration of newcomers.
  • Learning: Organizes approximately 40 events a year, workshops, roundtables, training sessions, where participants learn or refine their knowledge about the practices of federalism, and how to apply their learning in their countries. Events take place in over 20 countries.
  • Assisting the developing world: Development assistance programs have taken place or are planned in Burma, Ethiopia, Iraq, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, South Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen. These programs provide training on federalism and decentralized governance, as well as sector specific institutional support.
  • Holds major international conferences: On average every three years, sponsored by Canada (1999), Switzerland (2002), Belgium (2005), India (2007) and Ethiopia (2010). Conferences are attended by heads of state and heads of government (e.g. Johannes Rau, president of Germany, in 2002; Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in 2007), as well as ministers, judges, senior officials, young professionals, academics and other specialists.


The Forum was founded in 1999 following the First International Conference on Federalism in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. The event drew then world leaders such as U.S. President Bill Clinton, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, and Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. Four consecutive International Conferences were organized in Switzerland, Belgium, India, and Ethiopia. Over the years, the Forum has expanded the focus of its work to include not only established federal countries but also countries in post-conflict situations adopting federal forms of governance and those involved in processes of devolution and decentralization.


  • Board members: Georg Milbradt, (Chairman), Germany; Andreas Ashete, Ethiopia; Alexander Alvaro, Germany; General John de Chastelain, Canada; Naini Jayaseelan, India; Ramón Galindo Noriega, Mexico; Johanne Poirier, Canada; Hans Altherr, Switzerland; Ali Gardezi, Pakistan; Roger Wilkins, Australia.
  • President and Chief Executive Officer: Rupak Chattopadhyay
  • Fellows of the Forum: Vijay Kelkar, Arnold Koller, Prof. David Cameron, Ronald L. Watts, Thomas Pfisterer, Mian Raza Rabbani.


External links[edit]