Workshop: "Somalia constitution-making"

13 June 2018

On 13 June, the Constitution Transformation Network (CTN) was very pleased to host a seminar on "Constitution-Making" at Melbourne Law School for a group of eminent Somali diaspora committed to engaging in the ongoing process of constitutional reform currently underway in Somalia.

Somalia's Provisional Constitution was endorsed in July 2012, and has been under a process of review and renegotiation since then. In recent months, the Somali Federal Government, a number of Somalia's State administrations and key national bodies involved in the constitution-making process have all recommitted to agreeing a final constitutional settlement as a matter of priority. It is hoped that a constitution can be finalised in advance of national elections that are due to be held in 2020.

The meeting was informed by the on-ground experience and knowledge of the participants, a number of whom continue to work in Somalia. Participants were keen to focus on the most critical issues dominating current constitution-making discussions, namely the overarching issue of how federalism will be implemented in practice, with the federal division of powers and resources of particular interest.

Prof Cheryl Saunders guided discussions throughout the day, with the support from the CTN team. Prof Saunders started the day with an overview of the essentials of federalism, describing the common structures and approaches to establishing federal systems. This discussion was then followed by a more in-depth discussion on the different approaches to the division of powers and resources in federal systems. Prof Michael Crommelin then led a discussion on constitutional approaches to natural resource management in a federal system, including how such resources are owned, taxed and regulated.