Fifth Workshop on Federalism for the Somali Boundaries and Federation Commission

Max Planck Foundation organised the fifth workshop for members of the Boundaries and Federation Commission

The Boundaries and Federation Commission (BFC) launched its first workshop of the year with a discussion on local governments in federal countries. The workshop was held in Mogadishu on the 31 January under the guidance of two of Max Planck’s legal advisors. The workshop combined an examination of comparative experiences with a discussion on historical and contemporary Somali legal practices. The BFC was presented various models on the allocation of powers and territorial design of local governments in federal countries.

The topics of the workshop were particularly timely. The transition to a federal system in Somalia has significant implications for the organisation and administration of local governments. The (federal) Somali Provisional Constitution, and the constitutions of the Regional Interim Administrations contain provisions on local governance and will need to be reconciled. Efforts to update the existing laws regulating local governments are also underway. The BFC is expected to play a role in the broader deliberation on local governments, because the Commission is mandated, by its establishing law, to recommend to the Federal Parliament on the number and boundaries of districts (local governments).

The BFC is expected to benefit from the comparative insight it has gained on local government structures, finances and powers in federal countries. Similarly, the BFC’s assessment of past local government practices and structures in light of contemporary debates on local governance – including changes associated with the delivery and financing of modern public services and considerations for local democracy and accountability – will help the Commission to reflect on the multifaceted factors that are linked to structuring and organising local governments.