Bosnia and Herzegovina

Switzerland is supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina in its transition towards a democratic society and social market economy. Cooperation activities focus on supporting inclusive social and political reforms, encouraging economic development, creating more decent jobs and strengthening the health sector.

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina
© FDFA

The Dayton Peace Agreement brought the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to an end in 1995 after three years of devastation and bloodshed. 26 years after the conflict, BiH remains a fragile state and the Dayton Agreement still defines the complex political structure of the country, composed of two entities: (1) the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and (2) the Republika Srpska and Brčko District, a self-governing administrative area. The cumbersome state apparatus with 14 different levels of government and sometimes overlapping competences poses a challenge to reconciliation and state-building.

BiH applied to join the European Union in February 2016 and its application was accepted in September of that year. In its opinion of 2019, the European Commission defined 14 priority areas for improvement in the areas of democracy, the rule of law, fundamental rights and public administration reform. However, ethnic divisions still influence the country’s politics and reforms are slow. The economy suffers from severe structural deficits, including 47% unemployment among young people aged between 15 and 24. Social and economic divisions are growing and nearly 50% of the population is exposed to some form of discrimination. 

Taking into account the needs and the challenges BiH faces, Switzerland will continue to support the country within the scope of its new cooperation programme for the period 2021–24. This support will be focused on specific sectors in line with the priorities defined by the BiH government. The Swiss cooperation programme will be guided by the 2030 Agenda and intervene in line with EU accession priorities and relevant domestic strategies.

Economic development and employment

Switzerland’s efforts in BiH encourage a favourable environment for investments and private sector development as well as more decent jobs and income opportunities for women and men. Switzerland advocates for government policies that encourage economic growth and sustainable prosperity.

Alongside these efforts, Switzerland is helping to fight unemployment among young people. It supports selected vocational education and training (VET) schools and the establishment of a formalised dialogue between VET schools, education authorities and companies, to foster market orientation of the technical vocational education and training (TVET) system.

Basic education and vocational training

Private Sector Development and financial services

Health

The aim in this thematic area is to sustainably guarantee universal access to high-quality primary healthcare and equip women, men and young people with the knowledge to adopt healthier lifestyles. Switzerland's efforts to set up primary healthcare services focus on the development of nursing services, community mental healthcare and preventing chronic diseases to reduce health sector costs in the long term. 

Health

Local governance and municipal services

In its cooperation with BiH, Switzerland is helping to develop accountable institutions tailored to citizens’ needs by improving access to public services and making them easier to use. The enhancement of municipal services is especially important in the water sector and for disaster risk reduction. The inclusion of marginalised groups is a key concern. Interventions therefore encourage all citizens, in particular women and youth, to express their voices in a structured way and to actively participate in decision-making.

State and Economic Reforms

Migration

As a transit country for migrants, BiH faces migration management challenges. It can rely on close cooperation with Switzerland within the Migration Partnership signed in 2009 and facilitated by the SEM, and on Swiss expertise in this area. Switzerland will continue to reduce hardship experienced by migrants transiting BiH, while strengthening BiH’s capacities to prevent irregular migration, improve border management and protect migrants' rights. It will also continue to facilitate transfers of BiH diaspora know-how and resources, as well as the flow of remittances.

Migration

Organisation and partners

Switzerland coordinates its work with the authorities of BiH and with other donor countries, multilateral organisations and international financial institutions as well as civil society and private sector partners. The principles of good governance, gender equity, social inclusion, citizen participation and climate change and resource efficiency are an integral part of the Swiss cooperation programme. The other Swiss state actors engaged in BiH are the FDFA State Secretariat, the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) via the deployment of a military contingent to the European Union Force in BiH.

Switzerland's main partners in BiH are:

  • Swiss NGOs, including Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and the Swiss Red Cross
  • Swiss partners, including the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Canton of Zurich and Geneva University Hospitals
  • Multilateral organisations, including the UNDP and the World Bank
  • National partners, including government departments, regional and local authorities (bodies, cantons, municipalities), civil society organisations and BiH NGOs
  • Co-funding partners, including Sweden, Germany and the EU

Current Projects

Object 1 – 12 of 20

Protection and emergency care for vulnerable and unaccompanied minors

01.07.2024 - 30.06.2025

The number of migrants transiting through Bosnia and Herzegovina remains high with more than 10% of them being unaccompanied minors in need of essential care and special protection due to their vulnerabilities. As the state system is not yet able to fully address their needs, assistance from external actors remains crucial to provide the much-needed support to this vulnerable group of migrants and to safeguard their rights.


Diaspora knowledge mobility project

01.11.2023 - 31.10.2027

Many members of the 2 million diaspora of Bosnia and Herzegovina are ready to contribute to the development of their country with their knowledge, skills and investments. Switzerland supports the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees in creating mechanisms for transfer of diaspora knowledge and skills to local development actors, scientific, research and educational institutions and students, which will contribute to Bosnia’s economic and social development. 


Joint Programme Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina (JP DRR)

01.10.2023 - 30.11.2027

The authorities at all administrative levels will be supported to transform from reactive to proactive multi-sectoral disaster risk management and develop country-wide harmonized frameworks. Disaster risk reduction platforms will be set at all government levels to ensure better understanding of disaster risks and coordination of priority investments to increase resilience of vulnerable communities with a special focus on excluded population groups. 


Strengthening Vocational Education and Training - SVET

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2026

The project will enhance the employability of young people by improving the Technical Vocational Education and Training System (TVET) of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This will be achieved by ensuring that practical training is conducted on the job and that collaboration among employers, TVET schools and education authorities is institutionalised and anchored in the regulatory framework. TVET students will acquire labour market relevant skills that will allow them to find decent jobs, while private sector will be more competitive with skilled labour. 


Engage,inspire,empower-Women in Business

01.05.2023 - 30.11.2027

Switzerland will make core contributions to four local actors working on women's economic empowerment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim is to provide more substantial and diversified support for women’s increased participation in the country's economic development. These partners will also jointly advocate for the adoption of gender-responsive and evidence-based policies and the allocation of adequate resources for women's economic empowerment by governments at all levels.


Youth for Change

01.03.2023 - 28.02.2027

Switzerland contributes to the overall strategy of the youth organization Mozaik in its efforts to mobilize and empower young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Young people will develop their competences and mobilize their peers in youth-led community projects. Successful and motivated young people will be further supported in their entrepreneurial endeavors aiming at positive social impact and creation of decent jobs. They will serve as role models for other youth and lay the groundwork for social and economic change in their local communities. 


Strengthening Nursing in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.12.2022 - 30.11.2026

The health system of BiH is expensive and providing poor quality services, partly due to underutilised potential of nurses. With the support of the project, the health authorities will reform the profession of nurses by aligning nursing practice to quality standards, improving their capacities, expanding their tasks and stimulating homebased care and health education. This will enhance the coverage, quality and cost-effectiveness of health services thereby improving the health status of men and women in BiH. 


Empowering Youth for Sustainable Development through the Youth Advisory Board

01.05.2022 - 30.04.2025

The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) gives young people the opportunity to include the voices of youth in the Swiss Cooperation Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Interventions will better reflect and address the needs and challenges of young people, increasing their impact and relevance. At the same time, YAB members improve their critical thinking, develop ways of articulating important messages to decision makers and influencing policies. They become empowered to actively engage in the development processes in the country and shape their society.


Making Markets work for te next generation

01.06.2021 - 31.12.2026

MarketMakers (MM) introduces missing and strengthens underperforming market functions in the IT and Business/Knowledge-Process-Outsourcing (BPO/KPO) sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). MM induces economic growth in private companies and contributes to create new and better jobs. MM further supports youth employment and entrepreneurship by improving conditions for self-employment, business creation and freelancing. This consolidation phase of MM will ensure further scale and sustainability of interventions. 


Municipal Environmental Governance (MEG)

01.04.2021 - 31.03.2025

Close to one quarter of the municipalities in the country will adopt a new performance management system, in line with the reforms of the public administration. Elected officials and municipal administrations will perform their duties and interact with citizens in a more responsive and transparent way. Citizens will benefit from better services, in particular in the water sector, in line with the European Union standards, and by developing synergies with the World Bank Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Modernization Programme. The regulatory framework at all levels will be improved to support these reforms. 


Civil Society Support in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.12.2020 - 31.05.2027

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.


Strengthening the Role of Local Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.05.2020 - 31.12.2024

The Project will enhance community governance in BiH by empowering local communities (MZs) as modern and effective structures for pro-active citizens’ participation. A new functional and organizational set up of MZs in BiH will be created and standardized countrywide. In turn, women and men will benefit from more people-centred local service delivery, better accountability and transparency of municipalities.

 

 

 

Object 1 – 12 of 20