ISLAMABAD: The three days international conference on Participatory Federalism and Decentralization “From Framework to Functionality” concluded here. The conference was jointly organized by United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Inter-University Consortium for the Promotion of Social Sciences (IUCPSS) an alliance of 16 universities, Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination, Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Forum of Federations against the backdrop of the 18th Constitutional Amendment and democratic transition in Pakistan.
International experts from more than fifteen countries, academicians, politicians, policy makers, civil society, young scholars and representatives of international and national organizations participated in more than ten sessions the conference.
During the course of the conference, different trends, levels and indicators of institutional interplay between democracy, federalism and decentralization at national, regional and global levels were studied and analyzed. The case studies and the lessons learnt on the subject will provide a technical baseline to inform and facilitate the process of triangular integration between democracy, federalism and decentralization in Pakistan. The knowledge produced by the Conference would be subsequently integrated into the policy, planning and implementation processes of post-18th Amendment transition management at federal and provincial levels in Pakistan.
The main objectives of this event were to engage international and national academia, development actors, policy makers, legislators and civil society in developing and sharing knowledge based on participatory federalism, intergovernmental relations, decentralization and inclusive governance – with focus on the 18th Constitutional Amendment and to provide interface between research community and policy forums (political parties and civil bureaucracy) at federal and provincial levels for informed and effective transition management of devolution.
The Conference had also parallel panel discussions on Article 10-A (Right to Fair Trial), Article 25-A (Right to Education), Article 172 (Joint Ownership of Natural Resources and Article 19-A (Right to Information).
While presenting highlights of the conference, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nizamuddin, Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee & Chairman of Inter-University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan termed the conference a success and a milestone in bridging gap among academia, politicians and policy makers. He informed that the proceedings / recommendations of the Conference will be published for wider circulation among the stakeholders. Marc-Andre Franche Country Director UNDP extended thanks to panelists, discussants and participants of the conference for their effective participation and valuable contribution.
Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Executive Director HEC and Dr. Nadeem Tarar Director National College of Arts Rawalpindi also shared their views regarding the conference.
The Chief Guest of the Concluding Ceremony Mahmood Khan Ackhakzai President Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party appreciated the efforts of the organizers of the Conference to initiate debate on various practical aspects of 18th Constitutional Amendment. He termed 18th amendment a landmark achievement towards empowering people of Pakistan and emphasized over its implementation in true letter and spirit.