What is Federalism?

Federalism is a governance system of self-rule and shared rule.

In other words, governance powers owers are divided and shared between a general government having certain nationwide, continent-wide, or worldwide responsibilities and regional governments with regional powers. This division of powers is combined with the authority to carry out those responsibilities on behalf of the people of the federal body.

The word “federal” comes from the Latin foedus which means covenant or treaty.

The Federal idea or covenant (agreement) signifies a binding governance partnership among co-equals in which the parties retain their individual identity and integrity while creating a new entity in the body politic that has its own identity and integrity.

Watch this Forum of Federations animated video called, “What is Federalism?” to get a basic understanding of Federalism.

Click the blue button below to learn more about Federalism including which countries are federal and benefits of federalism

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Forum of Federations Programs
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Thematic Programs

Thematic Programs concern the development and mobilization of knowledge on federal and multilevel governance systems.

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Country/Regional Programs

Country/Regional Programs are demand-led initiatives which respond to the needs of stakeholders and donors concerning the creation, development, and reform of governance systems in emerging federal and multilevel countries.

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