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Contribution to International Center of the Institute of Federalism Fribourg (IFF)

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Fact sheet Credit Proposal

Project title

International Centre of the Institute of Federalism, Fribourg (IFF)

SDC priority theme: Governance

Project no.:


Country / Region: Golbal

Lead (max. 5 lines)

The IFF International center promotes federalism and decentralised governance as an effective political mechanisms for accommodating competing demands, inclusive governance and the protection of human rights and minority groups. The SDC’s contribution will allow the center to establish itself as a relevant center of applied academic expertise in the field of federalism, decentralisation, democratic governance, conflict resolution and constitutional processes, building on the specific Swiss experiences.

Context (general, related to relevant area):

The IFF International center works on legal, political and economic aspects of federalism, decentralisation and democratic governance and provides support and services in these areas. It thus contributes to the SDG 16 of the Agenda 2030 and the objective 4 on peace, good governance and gender equality of the Swiss International Cooperation Strategy 2021-2024.

From 1997 to 2016, IFF was an institutional partner of SDC for the promotion of federalism in partner countries and through the summer school of federalism. SDC ended the long term partnership in 2016, but continued cooperation with the IFF through an institutional dialogue, jointly led by different units of the FDFA.

Political interventions by the parliament to request federal support for the IFF (Motion Weibel Mo18.3238 in 2018, Kommissionsmotion SPK-NR 19.3008 in 2019, adopted in Sep 2020) triggered SDC’s decision to reconsider a contribution to IFF, the result of which is this credit proposal.


Overall goal

The overall goal of the IFF International center is, inspired by the specific Swiss experience, to contribute to comparative analysis and knowledge sharing on federalism and decentralised governance as an effective and relevant power-sharing arrangement and support locally owned and led solutions of partners and stakeholders to accommodate competing demands and achieve peaceful societies and political stability in their specific contexts.



Key results and insights from previous phases (or baseline for first phase)

While receiving SDC contributions from 1997 to 2016, results included a wide range of capacity building activities, notably the summer universities on federalism, decentralisation and conflict resolution, tailor made training courses, research activities and study tours. The IFF was also a showcase for Swiss federalism serving as a communication tool available to the Swiss diplomacy at large.

Outcomes (objectives) of the planned phase

Outcome 1: Constitution and policy makers, parties to conflict and other actors of change have enhanced their knowledge and understanding about federal and decentralised governance and promote and implement context adapted, locally owned and led policies contributing to conflict prevention and resolution, inclusive governance and the protection of human rights and minority groups.

Outcome 2: The IFF International center has strengthened its strategic orientation and institutional capacities, diversified its partners and clients and significantly broadened its financial resource base.

Key outputs of the planned phase

Output 1: Participative and interactive capacity building measures are organized for a variety of target groups to enhance the understanding of federalism and decentralised governance.

Output 2: International researchers are trained and supported in their academic careers and as actors of change. They are encouraged to join international networks and disseminate the values and best practices of decentralised governance throughout their careers.

Output 3: The IFF has developed the capacities of their employees to be more responsive and efficient to demands and calls for proposal.

Output 4: Innovative, tailor-made and context specific training modules are conceptualised in the areas of expertise of the IFF to meet the variety of needs and demands.

Target group/s:

The main target groups are on one side scholars, researchers and peacebuilding and development practitioners for knowledge sharing, and on the other side constitution and policy makers, parties to conflict and elected representatives or civil society actors as actors of change based in development, fragile and transition contexts. Indirect beneficiaries are victims of human rights violations and minority and vulnerable groups in the partner countries who benefit from improved governance and better protection of their rights. A special attention will be given to empower women involved academically or politically by supporting more female actors of change.


Contract partner/s


International Center of the Institute of Federalisms, Fribourg

Coordination and synergies with other projects and actors

Important actors on the international level are the SDC partners on democratic governance and federalism: Int. IDEA and the Forum of Federation. SDC will strengthen linkages and synergies between the partners.

On the federal level, the FDFA focal points as set out in the ‘Prinzipien der Zusammenarbeit’ remain the main partners for the dialogue and cooperation with IFF.

The Federal Department of Justice (Bundesamt für Justiz, BJ) leads the federal administration’s response to Parliamentary requests for federal support for the IFF.

Start of phase: from 1.1.2021

End of phase: to 31.12.2024

SDC Budget of phase

CHF 1’050’00.-

Total SDC expenses already spent since 1st phase (including opening credit)[1]

Total support from 1997-2016: CHF 17’319’928.

Total budget of phase including local partners and external contributions
CHF 4’000’000.-

Estimated Swiss/SDC budget for the duration of the whole intervention (all phases combined, indicate total duration)

CHF 2'050'000 for two phases (8 years)