Kathmandu: The Kathmandu University School of Law (KUSOL) is gearing up to host the “International Conference on Federalism, Devolution of Power, and Inclusive Democracy in Nepal and Asia.”
The conference serves as a comprehensive platform for profound discussions on the multifaceted aspects of federalism, devolution of power, and inclusive democracy, according to the organizer. Speakers, constitutional experts, practitioners, and researchers from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other countries will converge to explore pivotal themes relevant to Nepal.
The conference will delve into intergovernmental coordination and cooperation in federal systems, equitable distribution of fiscal and state resources, and inclusion in decentralized governance. It will explore effective methods for fostering collaboration among various government tiers within federal systems, touching upon shared responsibilities, conflict resolution, and holistic governance.
Resource allocation and distribution, promoting balanced provincial development, and advocating for equitable fiscal practices and sustainable resource management will also be addressed. Furthermore, discussions on democratic principles will take center stage, aiming to ensure active participation of marginalized voices in decision-making processes within decentralized structures and fostering a genuinely representative and participatory democracy.
The conference’s inauguration will be graced by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, with special remarks by Justice Ananda Mohan Bhattarai of the Supreme Court, Nepal. The keynote address will be delivered by Justice Robert French, former Chief Justice of Australia.
Professor Rishikesh Wagley, the Law Dean of Kathmandu University, opined that the Federal arrangements in Nepal are becoming increasingly complex due to political instability. “The conference seeks to engage in comprehensive discussions concerning the federal arrangements outlined in Nepal’s 2015 Constitution, explore the challenges of their implementation, and propose potential solutions.”
The convener of this significant event, as in 2018, is Prof Bipin Adhikari, the founder dean of Kathmandu University School of Law and a distinguished constitutional law expert. Adhikari emphasized the need for effective implementation of the Constitution to ensure that constitutional institutions can fulfill their roles in a democratic society. This time, the School of Law is focusing solely on the themes of federalism, diversity, and inclusion, which have been major issues, rather than addressing the entire Constitution, unlike the previous Constitutional conference.
Organized by the Kathmandu University School of Law (KUSOL), this conference will draw participation from constitutional experts, practitioners, researchers, policy makers, political parties, and civil society members from Nepal, South Asia, and the Asia Pacific region, totaling approximately 100 attendees.
This marks the second conference organized by KUSOL focusing on constitutional matters. The first conference, conducted in collaboration with the South Asia Trust, took place from August 11 to 13, 2018, three years after Nepal’s new Constitution was promulgated. The upcoming conference is scheduled for November 22-23, 2023, at the Malla Hotel in Lainchaur, Kathmandu. The conference outcomes are expected to make a significant contribution to Nepal’s ongoing constitutional implementation process, aligning it with the principles of federalism, devolution of power, and inclusive democracy.