Melbourne Forum 2021: Session 4

Webinar 4: "Sub-national engagement in international relations"

The sixth Melbourne Forum on Constitution Building in Asia and the Pacific was comprised of four sessions, held as two connected online webinars. The fourth session was held on 4 November 2021 from 3-5pm (AEST).

Video of Roundtable 4 - Melbourne Forum 2021

This theme explored when, how and under what conditions sub-national jurisdictions engage directly in international arrangements and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of increasing involvement, generally and in relation to climate change. Questions considered in relation to each case (with appropriate contextual adaptations) included:

  • What forms of sub-national government exist in your country? Are they symmetrically organised or is there an element of asymmetry?
  • Do any of them engage in international arrangements? If so, with what partners and in what areas?  What procedures are followed within the sub-national jurisdiction?
  • What is the governance framework for such arrangements within the country? Are sub-national governments recognised as having any international legal personality? Is the approval of national institutions required, positively or negatively? Is there any debate about these arrangements?
  • How is the position of sub-national governments in international relations and other arrangements reflected in the Constitution?
  • Have sub-national governments in your country adopted policies in relation to climate change? If so, please elaborate. Have these steps been taken unilaterally, in collaboration with other governments in your country, or in response to external representations or pressures?
  • Are there other aspects of the experience of your country with the engagement of sub-national governments in international activity that might throw light on the matters for consideration in this theme?

Papers were produced to frame the discussions, drawing on experiences from four countries: