Strengthening Associations of Municipalities and Cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Project completed

In the complex institutional and legal system and incomplete policy context for decentralisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the two entity Associations of Municipalities and Cities (AMCs) are formally recognized as actors of decentralization, advocating for local governments (LGs). The project aims at enhancing AMCs’ capacities to actively support local governments in the provision of efficient services to their citizens, and to improve LGs role, status and position towards higher levels of government in BiH.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Public sector policy
Public finance management
01.01.2018 - 30.06.2022
CHF  2’062’000
Background In 2016, after years of standstill, the EU integration process has been revived with the acceptance of BiH’s membership application. Still, BiH as a country in transition continues to struggle with serious development challenges, including slow economic development, growing poverty and socio-economic inequalities. The complex political set up of the country and elite capture inevitably affects the potential of local governance as a key driver for municipal development and effective service delivery to citizens. Local governments are often trapped by inadequate and vertically not harmonized policy and legal frameworks on local governance and insufficient funds. AMCs have succeeded to be formally recognized as important actors of decentralization. They increasingly cooperate and register initial successes in terms of policy influencing. However, present capacities and resources of both AMCs still remain insufficient to (i) position them as real drivers of complex legislative and policy changes, or (ii) to offer quality services to local governments country-wide.
Objectives Strengthened AMCs enhance local governments’ service provision to citizens and foster the creation of a conducive framework for local governance and EU accession.
Target groups Direct beneficiaries are the two entity AMCs with all key structures – Assembly, Presidency, Supervisory Board (governance level), Standing Committee, Networks of Expertise (technical level) and Executive Secretariat (operational level). Indirect beneficiaries are all 144 municipalities in BiH. End beneficiaries are citizens of BiH who will receive better services.
Medium-term outcomes
  • AMCs introduce institutional and organizational changes in order to perform effectively, thereby gaining trust and credibility among their members
  • LGs/members benefit from AMCs’ improved services in the areas of EU accession and Local Government Finance in line with their mandate and EU accession requirements
  • AMCs’ undertake proactive and evidence based lobbying and advocacy in line with LGs’ interests and the EU accession process, thereby influencing policy, regulations and their implementation

Expected results:  

  • Measures for institutional and organizational development and adequate management structures introduced
  • Systematic interaction (incl. oversight) between AMCs’ leadership (Presidencies, Secretariats) and members increased
  • Networks of expertise and mechanisms for consultations between AMCs, members and higher levels of government strengthened
  • Management of external resources (NGOs, private sector and experts) improved
  • Tools for knowledge sharing, documenting, archiving and communication introduced
  • Capacities of AMC governing bodies in management of annual planning processes increased
  • Training modules in EU integration and LG financing developed and diversified trainings provided by AMCs
  • Survey-based monitoring platforms for LG service delivery introduced
  • Service oriented sustainable financing model for paid services developed
  • Capacities for systemic collection of data for lobbying strengthened and applied in key areas
  • New policy documents and advocacy instruments developed and applied

Results from previous phases:   From 2010-2014 the Swedish Sida (lead donor) has been engaged in supporting the two entity AMCs in developing their human and institutional capacities for advocacy, service provision and knowledge/ information exchange. The support has generated results in terms of advancing AMCs’ capacities. The achievements are related to: (i) improved AMCs participation in high-level law-making processes and working groups, (ii) raised awareness of local governments for common advocacy initiatives, (iii) more positive image of AMCs, and (iv) improved performance of AMCs’ Secretariats (operational level). During the Inception Phase of this Project, an i) Assessment on the Impact of the EU Accession on Local Governments, ii) an Assessment on the Impact of the Reform Agenda on Local Governments, and iii) a Baseline Report have been produced as baselines for the preparation of the implementation phase.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution
  • National State Institute North

Other partners
SALAR/Swedish Association of Municipalities (facilitating agency), Entity Associations of Municipalities and Cities, 144 municipalities, Ministry of Administration and Local Self- Governance RS, Ministry of Justice FBiH
Coordination with other projects and actors
  • SDC Integrated Local Development Project (ILDP), with regard to services for local development planning and management
  • SDC Municipal Economic and Environmental Project (MEG), with regard to promoting LG performance management models
  • SDC Strengthening Local Communities Project (MZ), in terms of promoting community participation platforms and legislative changes
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’062’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’872’378
Project phases

Phase 1 01.01.2018 - 30.06.2022   (Completed)