Civil Society Support in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Citizens will increase their influence on policy making through their active engagement with civil society organisations. Through improvement of their know-how on civic participation and engagement in civil society alliances, civil society organisations will effectively participate in democratic processes, demand reforms from the authorities, and contribute to social change in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They will increasingly act as advocates for democratic reforms, gender equality, human rights and social inclusion rather than as service providers.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Democratic participation and civil society
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Women’s equality organisations and institutions
- HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
- Foreign private sector North
- Foreign private sector South/East
|The civic participation in policy dialogue and decision making in Bosnia and Herzegovina is limited. In general, citizens do not perceive Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as legitimate representatives of their interests. Key reasons for this are that the majority of CSOs are detached from their constituencies, more oriented to service provision than to advocacy activities, and financially donordependent. They often lack capacities to articulate citizens’ needs and they compete for funding more than they cooperate. Existing public consultation mechanisms for elaboration of policies are not user friendly nor sufficiently used. The CSOs lack capacities to provide good quality and evidence-based feedback in policy dialogue and to act proactively. As a result, the responsiveness of the authorities on different government levels to the comments received from civil sector is not satisfactory and civic space remains narrow.
|Citizens, in particular socially excluded groups, participate more actively in public affairs, influence policy making, and contribute to democratic reforms and social change in Bosnia and Herzegovina through their engagement with CSOs.
The primary target groups are citizens - especially
women, youth, and socially excluded groups, CSOs, local, entity and state authorities and governments. The secondary target groups are non-for-profit media, academia, companies, social enterprises and the diaspora. Depending on issues selected by the participating CSOs and citizens to be addressed within the project, the project will actively support cooperation with private sector actors, ranging from their financial support to CSOs to joint actions in area of local economic development.
1. CSOs have intensified their engagement with citizens, particularly with women, youth and socially excluded groups, to articulate their most urgent concerns and demand the authorities at all levels of government to respond to these concerns.
2. CSOs form alliances and work together strategically in demanding reforms and accountability from the authorities in response to citizens' concerns.
3. CSOs participate in formal mechanisms to influence public policy and decision-making and campaign for more government responsiveness.
4. Authorities and CSOs actively cooperate to enhance the environment for civil society development.
− actively engage with their target groups, ensuring participation of women, youth and socially excluded groups, and identifying citizens' concerns
− initiate and maintain local multi stakeholder dialogues on citizens’ main concerns and create sense of urgency around these
− elaborate local strategies of change addressing citizens' main concerns
− engage with CSOs from different municipalities to form partnerships and prepare joint campaigns to address citizens' concerns through policy influencing
− engage in policy influencing through formal consultation mechanisms at different levels of government
− monitor governments’ responsiveness to their policy inputs
− engage with the authorities to elaborate action plans for improving the environment for civil society development and hold the government to account
Results from previous phases:
Baseline for Phase 1 (2021):
• There are very few CSOs in the target municipalities that actively engage with the citizens to articulate their most common concerns.
• CSOs do not sufficiently engage in the multi stakeholder dialogues in the target municipalities in order to address citizen concerns.
• There are very few CSOs that form strategic partnerships and effectively work together on common thematic agendas.
• There is no system of monitoring to what extent policy proposals submitted by CSOs are influencing decisions by the authorities and for what reasons.
• Existing formal consultation mechanisms for the policy formulations are complicated to use and not effectively used.
|Directorate/federal office responsible
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
Consortium of Helvetas (Switzerland) and NIRAS (Denmark)
|Coordination with other projects and actors
|With other SDC governance and economic development projects: Municipal Environmental Governance Project, Strengthening the Role of Local Communities Project, Strengthening Associations of Municipalities and Cities Project, Local Economic Development Project. With other donor projects supporting civil society development (Czech Republic, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK, US).
|Current phase Swiss budget CHF 10’670’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 1’735’104