Rupak Chattopadhyay Paul Morton
This volume is the last in a series of five books based on the proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Federalism, held in New Delhi between 5-7 November 2007. While the other volumes each represented one of the four conference themes, this one brings together a selection of papers from the Young Professionals Programme of the conference.
The 4th International Conference on Federalism was the most recent in a series of events organized in partnership between host governments and the Forum of Federations. Held, on an average, every three years, these conferences are an opportunity for experts and practitioners from around the world to discuss current themes in federal governance. The first was hosted by the Government of Canada in Mont Tremblant in 1999, and examined the role of federalism in an age of globalization. Thereafter, the federal and cantonal governments of Switzerland together held the second conference in August 2002. In 2005, the third conference was held in Brussels to coincide with the 175th anniversary of Belgiumâ€™s independence and the 25th anniversary of federalism in the country. Developments in Sudan, Iraq, and elsewhere at the time led to a conference heavily focused on the role of federalism in post-conflict environments.
Common to each of these conferences was a programme for young professionals. However, the conference in New Delhi offered a unique opportunity to integrate contributions by young professionals into the work of the main conference. In past conferences,
parallel programmes were usually created for young professionals. Furthermore, the demography targeted by the Young Professional Programme at this conference embraced those in early stages of a promising career in federalism-related fields, rather than students. This allowed the group to be seamlessly integrated in the working sessions of the conference. The New Delhi conference brought together 50 Indian and international participants, from established (such as Germany and Brazil) and emerging federations (such as Iraq), as well as participants from countries with federal type arrangements (such as Italy and the UK).
In addition to participating in the conference sessions, they worked together on a series of co-authored papers in the lead-up to the conference. In contrast to the thematic papers prepared for the main conference sessions, the young professionals were asked to bring a new perspective on the themes by reflecting on future challenges in these areas.
The following policy questions, arranged by theme and subtheme, were considered during the working sessions of the conference.
Theme 1: Building on and Accommodating Diversity
o Subtheme: Nation Building and Diversity
+ Can Unity and Diversity be Reconciled?
+ Can Deep Differences be Accommodated?
o Subtheme: Autonomy and Diversity
+ How do Institutional Arrangements for Diversity Evolve over Time?
+ How do Devolved Systems Deal with Autonomy?
o Subtheme: Managing Conflicts of Diversity
+ How Important is Language Policy as a Tool of Conflict Resolution?
+ Is Federalism an Option for Managing Conflict?
o Subtheme: Assignment Systems in Federations
+ How Effective are Different Forms of Harmonizing VAT and Other Taxes?
+ Does Fiscal Responsibility Legislation Undermine Federalism?
o Subtheme: Managing Fiscal Conflicts
+ How Far should Federations Accommodate Differences in Resource Endowments?
+ Are Federations Moving Towards More Rational Forms of Equalization?
o Subtheme: Fiscal Federalism and Regional Equity
+ How do Federations Reconcile Overall Economic Stability with State Autonomy?
+ To What Extent do Central Governments Erode State Jurisdiction using Fiscal Arrangements?
Theme 2: Emerging Issues in Fiscal Federalism
Theme 3: Interaction in Federal Systems
o Subtheme: Anticipating and Managing Tension and Conflict
+ How do Federations Deal with Water Disputes?
+ How do Federations Coordinate Policing and Deal with Public Security?
o Subtheme: Techniques, Structures, and Processes
+ What are Effective Approaches to Intergovernmental Relations?
+ How can Disasters and Emergencies be Effectively Managed?
o Subtheme: Accountability and Transparency
+ Can Accountability and Transparency be Achieved where Executive Branches Dominate Intergovernmental Relations?
+ Are Centralized Election Agencies Compatible with Federalism?
Theme 4: Local Government in Federal Systems
o Subtheme: Enhancement of Democracy through Empowerment of Disadvantaged Groups
+ To What Extent should Local Governments Lead in the Empowerment of Disadvantaged Groups?
+ Are Local Governments Really Enhancing Participatory Decision-Making?
o Subtheme: The Functioning of Local Governments in Federal Systems
+ Should Local Governments be Constitutionalized?
+ Do Direct Federal-Local Government Relations Undermine Federalism?
o Subtheme: Governance of Megacities in Federal Orders
+ How is Governance and Service Delivery Organized in Megacities?
+ What Forms has Governance of National Capital Regions Taken?
These questions formed the basis of young professional contributions to the conference and form the basis of the papers which have been reproduced in this volume. Topics such as the management of water, coordinated policing and public security, the governance of national capital regions and megacities, to list a few, find expression in the work the Forum of Federations undertakes with partner governments.
The issues discussed at this conference and in the papers are issues which occupy policy makers in federations all over the world. Where possible we have encouraged people from different countries to write collaboratively. The preparation of these papers in the run-up to the main conference in New Delhi included a series of regional roundtables, held in Addis Ababa, Ottawa, New Delhi, and Salzburg. Here participants from the different regions were able to present draft papers, and provide feedback to each other. The young professionals were then in a position to contribute their perspectives in the conference work sessions.
The planning and organization of the Young Professionals Programme was done by a committee of four, themselves young professionals: Rekha Saxena, Andrea Iff, Assefa Fiseha, and Paul Morton, with each member being responsible for a geographic region. The committee first met in October of 2006 in Lilienberg
and presented its proposal for the Young Professionals Programme at the pre-conference in February 2007. From the beginning, the project was made possibleâ€”and enjoyableâ€”by the support and enthusiasm of the Inter-State Council and the Forum of Federations.
The publication of the Young Professional papers in this volume and on the conference website represents the last stage of the 2007 Young Professional Programme. Hopefully, however, the programme will have formed a core group of engaged individuals who can help to develop and expand the young professionalsâ€™ network for the future.