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.

Has Decentralizing Governance in the MENA Region Increased Women’s Empowerment?

Author: Simone Clarke – Ensuring adequate representation for women in governance realms remains a global challenge. This challenge is especially prevalent in the MENA region, which since the early 2010s has been faced with both the beginning and aftermath of the Arab Spring protests. These protests originated in Tunisia and soon spread to other countries in the region as calls for more equal governance grew in size and scale. The desire for increased opportunities for political participation resulted in some countries, including Tunisia and Morocco, moving toward decentralization. Despite their geographic proximity, these two countries took different approaches to decentralization. The outcomes of these two approaches provides for a compelling comparative analysis.

Unfulfilled Potential? Federalism, Conflict and Coup d’États in Africa

Author: Hayat Omar – Africa is a continent which has been plagued by internal conflict and violence. Violence has increasingly become the mechanism through which actors implement change, attempt to alter the harsh realities of their lives, and challenge and governments and power structures. Much of Africa continues to face income inequality, inadequate health resources, infrastructure, and employment opportunities. Moreover, these issues have persisted for decades, fomenting a context in which aggrieved peoples and communities conclude that violence (on a progressive spectrum from low-level crime, to violent protests, and eventually organized coup d’états) is the only means through which meaningful change can be achieved. Scholars and analysts define this as ‘revolutionary violence’. Many of the crimes and conflicts actioned by Africans are attributed to “…overlapping injustice that betrays the basic presuppositions of a democratic state” (Chandoke 2015). Violence in this case has been defined as; “…brutality of predators and of hapless victims, of savage violations of the body and damage to the mind…” (2015). In this context, the epitome of the expression of revolutionary violence against the state is the coup d’état.

Acting on Alienation? Federal Political Culture and the Case of Alberta

Author: Jamie M. Thomas – Concepts of regionalism, alienation, secession, and separation are not new in federal studies. These ideas have been discussed at length in the Canadian case, especially concerning Quebec, and highlight the tension between shared-rule and self-rule in federal countries. In an extremely decentralized and geographically dispersed federation like Canada, it is important to understand the dynamics behind these concepts and how they present differently across the country. Examining how these sentiments differ from each other and have developed within the same federal system can contribute to a greater understanding of the complexities of ‘togetherness and apartness’ in Canada – and by extension – in other federal countries too. Using political culture to explore the origins of and continued support for these concepts in provinces outside Quebec provides an opportunity to assess the current state of federalism in Canada, as well as what actions can be undertaken to improve relationships between the provinces and the federal government.

A Federalism Identity Crisis? Separatist Movements in Federations

Author: Emilie Patry – The province of Quebec is well known for political movements which have, at various points in Canada’s history, expressed a desire to separate from the federation. The government of Quebec has on two distinct occasions asked its citizens if they wished to become independent. Following the last referendum held in 1995, when 50.58% of the Quebec population answered “no”, separatist claims did not simply disappear (Bellerose, 2021, S.d). While it is true that over the years the ideal of an independent Quebec has lost some of its relevance among the population as a whole, it nevertheless is still an electoral promise of a number of political parties within the province. In this sense, it is certain that a Quebec nationalist sentiment remains present.

Les dilemmes du fédéralisme face à la pandémie de COVID-19

Auteure: Marie Bettega – Depuis Janvier 2020, la pandémie de COVID-19 marque une crise sanitaire internationale sans précédent. La propagation accélérée du virus dans un monde globalisé a nécessité des réponses inédites de la part des gouvernements. L’efficacité des actions engagées dépend du système politique des différents États. Cet article se concentre sur les États fédéraux, et plus particulièrement le Canada et l’Allemagne.  

Digitalization in Federal Governments: Impacts on Service Delivery

Author: Soumaya Marhnouj – In the age of digital technology, it has become the norm to rely more upon online applications for access to public services and programs as internet connectivity has proliferated. In Canada, 98% of households have access to fixed broadband internet access, and more than 87% have a home Internet subscription. Furthermore, over 88% of the population have a smartphone and 45% of them check their smartphone every 30 minutes. Not only are people more interconnected than ever, but technology is increasingly relied upon in a manner that would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago. We see this technological shift in almost every aspect of life; government actors, government services, and public information should be no exception. Federal and unitary governments worldwide are embracing – and being expected to embrace – technology in the exercise of their functions. Central and subnational governments can use these technologies to fulfill primary goals in service provision, including “improving efficiency and service quality by reducing service lead times, increasing transparency, and offering seamless service provision across organizations.” This practice is known as digital government.   

Federalism: a Viable Peacebuilding Tool?

Author: Victoria Rose King – Since the end of the Cold War, the frequency with which federalism has been adopted as a peacebuilding tool in deeply divided states has increased. This is due to its perceived “ability to satisfy the aspirations and demands of both minority and majority groups: giving minority groups (limited) control over their own economic, political and social affairs, while also sustaining the territorial integrity of the extant state” (Anderson & Keil, 2017).

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.