Webinar Federalism in a Fragmented State:  Rethinking Decentralization in Yemen

DATE: 15-04-2020 | TIME: 13:00 - 14:00 BST

Yemen suffered from the excessive control of the central government prior to the current conflict. Federalism has been put forward by many Yemeni political parties since the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) as the supposed magic cure for this significant problem. Today, Yemen is more fragmented than ever, its state central institutions have been scattered and lack leadership and the state has lost most of its sovereignty. The prevailing narrative that decentralization through federalism is Yemen’s inevitable path post-conflict often fails to acknowledge that there are prerequisites for effective local governance, beyond political will.

In a recent article, Osamah Al Rawhani addressed how the weakness of central state institutions is the key challenge to proceeding with federalism in Yemen and highlighted prerequisites and contextual factors that need to be addressed before reforming the structure of the state. He argued that the viability of decentralization relies on the presence of a functioning, representative central government that is capable of devolving power but also able to keep the state from further fragmentation.

In this webinar, part of a joint Arab Reform Initiative-Chatham House project on the future of the state in the Middle East and North Africa, the author will discuss recent developments in Yemen, where shifting frontlines and regional divisions are fragmenting the country in new ways. He will explore alternative approaches to pursue the path of federalism that recognize the current realities and the critical need for strong central institutions. He will also survey the internal and external factors that must be considered to rebuild a stable state in Yemen.

You can express your interest in attending by following this link. You will receive a Zoom confirmation email should your registration be successful. Alternatively, you can watch the event live on the Chatham House MENA Programme Facebook page.