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"The idea behind the Guidelines for Good Federal Practices is to draw up principles for the just, equitable and effective governance of federations worldwide. The Guidelines are intended to help framers of constitutions, government officials, members of civil society and those who apply the law to reassess, reform or rebuild political systems. They strive to identify issues that must be considered as regards federalism and suggest possible solutions. There is no ideal model of federalism, no template of «best» practices valid worldwide. Political, historical, social and economic conditions shape federal institutions and processes, but these conditions vary by country. The Guidelines accordingly do not prescribe how specific problems are to be solved; they describe what should be considered in policy-making in the hope that «good» practice will lead to an appropriate, functional out-come. The Guidelines are to be applied in governance: they are intended to help federalizing countries to establish or federal countries to improve their legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks. The «In a nutshell» - authors hope, however, that the Guidelines will be useful for all federations – existing, reforming as well as emerging – around the world. As such, the Guidelines should be understood as a work in progress, to be discussed, critiqued and built on. They are a contribution of a Swiss working group to the development of a universal instrument."