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 13 – 20 of 20

Institutional Support to Network of Associations of Local Authorities in South East Europe (NALAS) - Exit Phase

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2022

The final phase of SDC's support to the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South East Europe — NALAS, will focus on the institution's sustainability and on consolidating NALAS' expertise on decentralization. Engaging in strategic partnerships with regional and international networks and institution, NALAS will continue to provide knowledge, policy advice and smart services to local authorities in 12 countries in South East Europe to promote sustainable, inclusive and resilient communities across the region.


Youth for Change

15.12.2017 - 28.02.2023

SDC supports efforts to mobilize and empower young people in BiH to become agents of change. Young people will develop their competences and mobilize their peers in youth-led community projects. Successful and motivated young people will be further supported to become social entrepreneurs and create decent jobs. They will serve as role models for other youth and lay the groundwork for new social and economic values in their local communities.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: Improving nursing care for better health services

A nurse sitting in a treatment room.

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2022

In Bosnia and Herzegovina nurses make up the largest group of healthcare professionals. However, the potential offered by their proximity to local communities is underexploited. They are often responsible for administrative tasks rather than patient care and, with limited career prospects, many nurses are attracted by better working conditions in Western Europe. This is regrettable because nurses and the care they provide can be a gateway to better health services for people living in rural areas and marginalised communities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Health
Education

Health systems strengthening
Primary health care
Education facilities and training

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2022


CHF  5’125’000



Institutional Support to Network of Associations of Local Authorities in South East Europe (NALAS)

01.07.2013 - 31.12.2022

With an institutional support to the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South – East Europe (NALAS), SDC supports the decentralization and democratization processes as well as stability in South East Europe (SEE). NALAS strengthens national associations of local governments and fosters communication and cooperation among them. Through its advocacy activities, NALAS will support local governments in SEE to become more visible and taken into account, both by national governments and European institutions.


Swiss Entrepreneurship Program, Phase II

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

The Swiss Entrepreneurship Program supports entrepreneurs in developing their growth-oriented businesses. They are the key drivers of innovation, economic growth and job creation.


Wastewater management Republika Srpska

01.04.2019 - 31.12.2024

The project continues SECO's engagement in the waste water sector in BiH and responds to the challenges of the sector in the Republika Srpska (RS) like enforcement of legal framework, water pollution, coordination between public bodies and skills of the professional staff to manage, operate and maintain the wastewater systems.


Multi-Country Investment Climate Program

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2024

The Multi-Country Investment Climate Program (MCICP) supports investment climate reform advisory in a total of 20 SECO partner countries. It is implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a globally recognized leader in this field.


Europe and Central Asia : PPP Transaction Advisory Program

01.06.2011 - 31.12.2022

The ECA Program, managed by the International Finance Corporation IFC, is providing infrastructure transaction advisory and capacity building services to the public sector authorities to promote Public-Private Partnerships in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia.

Object 13 – 20 of 20