Somalia Constitution-Making Project: Working with the Melbourne Somali diaspora



In July 2012, the Provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia came into force. The Provisional Constitution was an interim settlement, which anticipated its own review and revision as the country developed its political institutions. In particular, the details of Somalia's federal structure were left to be elaborated as more Federal Member States were created. The Provisional Constitution anticipated that the revision process would be completed in time for the next federal elections, which were scheduled for late 2016. However, this deadline was not met and the process of constitutional revision is ongoing.

In 2018, in response to a request from a leading member of the Somali diaspora, Mr Mohamed Ibrahim, ConTransNet commenced a partnership with the Somali diaspora in Melbourne to support the Somalia constitution-making and constitutional implementation processes. The diaspora sought to draw on ConTransNet's deep comparative constitutional law expertise, with a particular focus on: (1) federalism (in particular, options for dividing power and = resource-sharing); (2) natural resource management in federal systems; and (3) government institutional structures in federal systems.

On 13 June 2018, ConTransNet hosted the First Somali Constitution Forum at Melbourne Law School. That Forum brought together a diverse group of approximately 20 influential members of the Somali diaspora to discuss key issues affecting Somalia’s ongoing constitution-making process, and federalism in particular . ConTransNet was very pleased to be able to share the expertise of Professor Cheryl Saunders an expert in comparative constitutional law and Professor Michael Crommelin, former Dean of Melbourne Law School and expert federalism and natural resource management. Feedback from participants was very positive, with videos of the presentations and discussions shared with a range of stakeholders in Somalia.

On 21 November 2018, ConTransNet hosted the Second Somali Constitution Forum at Melbourne Law School. The Forum again brought together members of the Somali diaspora in Melbourne, as well as a Somali Federal Member of the Somali Federal Parliament, the Hon Abdirahman Adam Ibrahim, and the Somalia National Director of ICTs, Mr Abdi Salam Mohamed. Participants again discussed a range of issues and options regarding Somalia's options for designing a federal structure suitable to the needs of the Somali people.

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