Federalism in Action – Nepal’s Local Elections 2022: Two Steps Forward but One Step Back?

Author: Sagar Manandhar – Nepal held local elections on May 13, 2022, giving Nepali voters the opportunity to participate in local government by electing new representatives for five-year terms. This is the second local election held since the adoption of the new federal constitution in 2015.

Federalism: Boon or Bane for Childcare? A Look at the Global North and Global South

Author: Angelina Romanchik – Childcare is emerging as a key area of policy interest for many governments across the globe, particularly in the wake of the pressures that the COVID-19 pandemic instigated on the family unit. Childcare is a distinct policy field, but one that also cuts across other significant areas of governmental responsibility: health, education, and social welfare. Federal systems of government, by virtue of the fact that approximately forty percent of the world’s population live in federations, play a significant role in the provision and efficacy of childcare globally. Both the development and implementation of childcare policy requires a successful collaborative effort between all levels of government. Often, multilevel governance can hinder the effective actualization of these policies, and this reality can be observed in global north countries such as Canada, Germany and Switzerland. Global south countries like Brazil, India, and South Africa also see similar issues between government systems and the realization of social policy. The trends observed amongst the aforementioned federations in the global north and global south highlight intersecting similarities and challenges which have implications for childcare policy development and service delivery. Exploring and understanding the relationship between governance and childcare policy in federations provides an opportunity to re-evaluate how child welfare and development is approached in federal and federal-type systems. In late 2021, the Forum conducted an international comparative research project on this very topic. Increased knowledge of policy and practice in federations can support identification of dynamics that impact childcare provision and quality, and thus pave the way for improvements in childcare delivery by federal and subnational governments in both the global north and global south.

Federalism and Climate Change: An Ever-Changing Approach to a Never-Changing Problem?

Author: Tamoghna Sengupta – Over the course of time, the issue of climate change has taken center stage as an alarming cause of earth’s deterioration. Climate change is a long-term shift or a global change in the earth’s climate pattern. Since the Industrial Revolution, anthropogenic activities have catalyzed the process of change within the climate. As a result of the increased impacts of climate change on ecosystems and extreme weather, governments have started taking initiatives in order to combat the growing challenges that humans consequently face for survival. The results of climate change are felt globally and require collective action by governments of all countries, irrespective of whether their governance structure is unitary or federal. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that some of the initiatives in federal countries have been ineffective, as the policies adopted have been insufficient in producing a solution that would tackle the issue at a larger scale. In order to understand some of the shortcomings, the article will delve into some of the challenges that federal governance systems face in combatting climate change and the actions that have been adapted as restorative measures.

Protest in Melbourne, Australia for Invasion Day 2020 Photo by Johan Mouchet on Unsplash

Movements Toward Reconciliation? Federalism and Indigenous Rights in Australia and Canada

Author: K. Hunter – Canada and Australia have long faced scrutiny for human rights abuses against their Indigenous populations since colonization. Consequently, Indigenous communities continue to struggle with gaining recognition and respect of their rights as colonial structures persist in the present day. However, efforts in both these countries by their Indigenous populations seek to change the way these relationships are viewed and interpreted, amid calls for both constitutional reform and greater recognition of Indigenous rights.

Pandemic Policing and Federal Pathways for Democratization

Author: Asma Zribi – The outbreak of COVID-19 impacted how governments operate and deliver services, including security. The pandemic shone a spotlight on governance shortcomings in supporting the most vulnerable and underrepresented populations, who have been disproportionately impacted in health and economic terms. State security providers, in their turn, have been required to cooperate with public health authorities, adapt to rapidly changing emergency regulations, and provide services that are not generally within their mandates.

Consigned Coffers: A Review of Intergovernmental Revenue-Sharing

Author: Emilie Tremblay – While there are over two dozen countries that can be considered federal states, these countries and the composition of their political systems vary greatly. The commonality they all share is that each has at least two orders of government, referred to here as the central and constituent governments, to which specific authorities and responsibilities are allocated by constitutional provision.

The Challenges and Opportunities of Nepal’s Nascent Federal System

Author: Julia Pelletier – Nepal is currently in the midst of implementing a democratic and federal model of governance, although this is not without it’s own challenges and opportunities. While the shift in powers and responsibilities from the central government to local and provincial governments will allow subnational actors to make decisions better representing the needs of local populations, many debate the current distribution of power and there is often tension between the different levels of government on a variety of issues.

COVID-19: A Driving Force Toward Good Governance?

Author: Deanna Senko – In early 2021, the global community passed the one-year mark since the beginning of the pandemic caused by the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. As of May 9, 2021 there have been 157,289,118 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 3,277,272 COVID-related deaths (WHO, 2021). This pandemic has forced many national and subnational governments to impose physical distancing, travel restrictions and lockdown measures as a means to slow the spread of the virus.

Canadian Supreme Court Decision: Lessons on Federal Governance and Climate Change?

Author: Mark Friedman – In a landmark ruling, Canada’s Supreme Court upheld the federal government’s signature piece of climate change legislation as compatible with the country’s federalism framework. Three provincial governments challenged the law, arguing it unconstitutionally intruded into their legislative powers. The court’s decision offers important lessons for national governments elsewhere wrestling with how to address the international climate crisis while respecting the rights of subnational governments within their federations. 

Intergovernmental Relations and COVID-19 in Canada

Author: Éric Desrochers – The regional autonomy of federations has added an extra layer of complexity to governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemic-era relations between Ottawa and the provinces have been more cooperative than in United States, but less institutionalized and more ad hoc than in some other federations. The Canadian response to the pandemic has thus been dominated by the usual pattern of executive federalism, making it unlikely that it will lead to major changes in this area.