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Posted: July 23, 2021 at 4:22 am

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How do governments in federations coordinate responses to emergency situations like COVID-19?

We examine the intergovernmental coordination practices used in Germany and Australia - two countries that received international attention for their success in controlling the first wave of Coronavirus - and assess what lessons might be learned from these experiences.


Professor Nathalie Behnke, Professor of Public Administration and Policy at the Institute of Political Science of the Technical University Darmstadt, Germany.

Professor Alan Fenna, Professor of Politics at Curtin University, Western Australia

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Catch up on all our Forum of Federations podcast episodes!

Episode 1:

We explore how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted federal governance dynamics in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and assess the implications of the crisis on the federations in North America.


The Honourable Bob Rae, Former Premier of Ontario.

Professor John Kincaid, Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Professor of Government and Public Service, President of the Center for the Study of Federalism, Lafayette College, Pennsylvania.

Professor Laura Flamand, Research Professor at the Center for International Studies and Founding Director of the Network for the Study of Inequalities, El Colegio de Mexico, Ciudad de Mxico.

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Dr. Alan Fenna, Curtin University of Technology Dr. Marlene Kammerer, Universitt Bern Dr. Sean Mueller, Universit de Lausanne Dr. Peter Eckersley, Nottingham Trent University Prof. Araz Taeihagh University of Singapore Dr. Lili Li, National University of Singapore Mr. Charles Berthelet, Universit du Qubec Montral

The Forum of Federations hosted a panel at International Political Science Association 2021 discussing the opportunity for federal entities state, local and federal; to advance policy options addressing climate change.

Forum of Federations Senior Director, Phillip Gonzales, chaired the panel on climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts in federal and decentralized countries. The panel brought together experts and papers from across the globe presenting country case studies on approaches to address climate change and create and enforce environmental policies in the context of how federated units such as states and provinces are implementing policy to address climate change across jurisdictions.

It is increasingly evident that multilevel systems are able to address these challenges in a more nuanced and effective manner given the nature of policy implementation as noted by the Paris agreement, specifically by allowing for local and regional governments to better adapt their plans to their specific situations in order to meet the Paris Agreement targets for 2030 and 2050, as well as permitting policy experimentation in different jurisdictions, engaging in the creation of the classic federal idea of federal entities as laboratories for policy experimentation.

Case studies from Australia, China, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States, illustrated how provincial and local actors are taking massive strides to address climate change within the mechanism of federations.

Across all cases, the impacts of various political, geographic, economic, and industry factors were detailed as to their influence and impact on national efforts to address climate change and meet environmental emissions targets.

The conclusion of the panel was that all federal entities have a substantial role to play in efforts to mitigate climate change, furthermore, it was suggested provinces and local entities are, in many instances, well placed and vital actors in any national effort to implementing effective climate governance policy.

The presentation from each author was followed by an in-depth analysis and questions from the panel discussant, George Stairs, Project Officer at the Forum for Policy Research Programs. Healthy discussion among the panellists helped tease out different arguments and facets of their research, and will hopefully help to deepen the strength of the papers and the ultimate goal of influencing policymakers in federated units toward better climate mitigation practices.

The Forums ongoing research into Climate Change and Federative Governance is made possible through the support of the Gouvernement du Qubec

Upcoming Forum work in this area of federative governance is further research and support in efforts towards better climate governance at decentralized levels of government across Global South-South countries. Importantly there is the forthcoming comparative volume on this issue bringing together 14 different case studies anticipated to come in early 2022, Climate Governance and Federalism: A Forum of Federations Comparative Policy Analysis

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