Interregional Training on Upper House Institutionalisation

Max Planck Foundation organises third Interregional Training for selected staff of the Office of the Prime Minister and Offices of the State Presidents in Somalia

From 14 to 15 November 2016, the Max Planck Foundation organised the third Interregional Training for selected staff of the Office of the Prime Minister and Offices of the State Presidents in Somalia. This Interregional Training was the third of a series of trainings, which aim at bringing together representatives from line Ministries of the Federal Government and the emerging Federal Member States of Somalia to be trained on models of other federal state systems in Africa and beyond and to discuss pertinent issues of the Somali federalisation process from a comparative perspective. The topic of this third interregional training was the institutionalisation of the Upper House in Somalia from a comparative perspective and was attended by five representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister, five representatives each of the Offices of the State Presidents of Galmudug, Jubbaland, Puntland, and South West State, plus five representatives from the regional governments of Hiraan, Middle Shabelle and Benaadir.

First, the Max Planck Foundation facilitators provided the participants with essential background information on the institutionalisation of second chambers to represent regional or state interests in federal systems. The facilitators used examples such as Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, but also Canada, Germany, India and the US to highlight how other federal countries have addressed representation of regional or state interests in their bicameral legislatures. In the ensuing discussions, the participants then exchanged their respective views on the current regulations on the Upper House in the Somali Provisional Constitution and how these could be improved.

In a second part, the training included two scenario-based exercises, which allowed the participants to discuss pertinent issues regarding the establishment of an Upper House of Parliament in a theoretical, less politically charged manner.

With the state formation process being complete, and in consideration of recent decisions of the National Leadership Forum, the establishment of an Upper House of a bicameral Somali Federal Parliament is imminent. Hence, the training was not only timely but also beneficial in building the knowledge of participants regarding options for the composition, election, powers and functions of an Upper House of Parliament.

The training forms the third of a series of Interregional Trainings delivered under the Max Planck Foundation's project "Support to the Somali Federalisation Process", which is financed by the German Federal Foreign Office.