New Delhi: The Inter-State Council Secretariat (ISCS) under the Ministry of Home Affairs has signed an Agreement with the Forum of Federations (FoF) based at Ottawa, Canada here today for next three years. The Agreement was signed by Shri H. K. Dash, Secretary, ISCS and Dr. Rupak Chattopadhyay, Forum’s President and Chief Executive Officer in the presence of the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh.
Shri Rajnath Singh wished great success for ISCS and FoF and hoped that these organizations will contribute significantly for the promotion of democracy and freedom in the world.
The Agreement provides for creating a mutually supportive international partnership with India for improving governance and enhancing democracy by promoting dialogue on the practices, principles and possibilities of federalism.
The Forum of Federations is an international organization of federal countries. It is based in Canada and brings together government practitioners and academics to improve governance and enhance democracy by promoting dialogue and providing policy research on federalism and the challenges of multi-level governance. The Forum offers partner countries the opportunity to be part of a global network which provides a mechanism for insight into both internal and international governance debates. The Forum works in the international arena to improve the practice of federalism by addressing the needs of practitioners of federalism through three broad core functions i.e. serving as a clearing house for information and resources on the practice of federalism, offering and implementing policy and partnership programmes with the governments and encouraging future practitioners to develop an interest and expertise in federalism.
The Forum organizes Development Assistance Programmes for even those developing countries having a federal set up, which may not be partners in the Forum. The Forum is funded by its 10 member countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and Switzerland. Some more states have evinced interest in joining the Forum. The Forum has a Strategic Council which renders advice on the strategic plan and programme of work of the Forum. Each partner country finds representation in the Strategic Council.
The Forum has, in the past, worked closely with India on several important issues pertaining to federal governance, fiscal federalism, public security, environmental governance and local government. India has been a Forum partner country since 2005 and has been represented on the Board of Directors by the Secretary, Inter-State Council Secretariat, Ministry of Home Affairs. Senior Officials from India have been involved in a wide range of key activities of the Forum, including capacity building, imparting training and rendering technical advice on federal issues.
India has benefitted from participation in international conferences and workshops on various aspects of federalism organized by the Forum. India hosted the Fourth International Conference on Federalism in New Delhi on November 5-8, 2007. Recently India participated in the Board of Governors meeting in Switzerland. The Forum has planned some India specific activities in the next three years and associating Indian experts in its capacity building programs in several developing countries, including some in South Asia. It is proposed to organize an International Conference on Cooperative Federalism in New Delhi later this year with the Forum as a knowledge partner during 2015-18. The proceedings will pave the way for mutually supportive international activities and programmes.
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