Bosnia and Herzegovina

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

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina
© FDFA

The Dayton Peace Agreement put an end to the war in Bosnia in 1995 following four years of devastation and bloodshed. The agreement still influences the political structure of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), a fragile state split into three parts: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, inhabited mainly by people of Bosniak and Croat origin; Republika Srpska, where mainly people of Serb origin live, and the District of Brčko, a self-governing administrative area. 

Ethnic divides still influence the country’s politics and reform is slow. The economy suffers from severe structural deficits and there is 54% unemployment among young people aged between 15 and 24. Social and economic divides are growing and nearly 50% of the population is exposed to some form of discrimination. Nevertheless, BiH applied to join the European Union in February 2016 and its application was accepted in September of that year. However, the country must still overcome important hurdles to become a member state.

Democratic governance, municipal services and justice

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 inclusion of marginalised groups is a key concern. Furthermore, Switzerland is working to increase decentralisation in politics, the tax system and administrative matters by encouraging better cooperation between the different levels of government. It is also supporting reforms in the justice system to rebuild citizens’ confidence in their institutions and society as a whole.

State and Economic Reforms

Healthcare

The aim in this sector is to guarantee universal access to good-quality primary healthcare and equip people with knowledge to help them to make better choices and adopt more healthy lifestyles. Switzerland’s efforts to set up primary healthcare services focus on the development of nursing services, on community mental healthcare and on preventing chronic diseases, which will reduce sector costs in the long term. 

Health

Economy and employment

Switzerland’s efforts in BiH encourage a business-friendly environment and new job opportunities. The two countries are working at the regional level to increase the transparency and efficiency of public finance mechanisms, while efforts to improve economic framework conditions envisage private sector growth and access to foreign markets for Bosnian businesses. 

Alongside these efforts, Switzerland is helping to fight unemployment among young people. It is assisting in the development of vocational education and training courses geared to market demand. It is also supporting government employment agencies in efforts to reintegrate unemployed people in the job market, with particular focus on disadvantaged groups including women.

Basic education and vocational training

Private Sector Development and financial services

Migration

In 2009, Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina signed a migration partnership to deal with the challenges and exploit the positive economic and social potential of migration. In the event of a continuation of the mass migration movements from the Middle East, which have particularly affected the Balkans region, Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to be prepared.

Migration

Organisation and partners

Switzerland coordinates its transition cooperation with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with other donor countries and organisations such as the UNDP, the World Health Organization and the World Bank Group. The principles of good governance and equal rights are an integral part of all programmes of the SDC and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Switzerland's main partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina are:

  • Swiss NGOs, e.g. Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation
  • Swiss partners: Cantons of Geneva, Jura, Fribourg and Bern; Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Canton of Zurich, Geneva University Hospitals
  • International NGO: CARE International
  • Multilateral organisations, e.g. UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, World Bank
  • National partners: Government departments, regional and local authorities (bodies, cantons, municipalities) and civil society organisations
  • Co-funding partners: Sweden, Norway, Germany

Documents

Current Projects

Object 1 – 12 of 27

Strengthening regional cooperation on migration in the Western Balkans

01.06.2025 - 31.12.2027

In light of diversifying migration patterns and challenges with increasing regional dimensions, the migration policy priorities of Western Balkan governments are changing and the relevance of regional dialogue, coordination and cooperation is growing. This proposal seeks to promote coherent and effective regional governance of migration in all its multifaceted dimensions contributing to greater social cohesion and regional integration in the Western Balkans.


Planned project

Mozaik: Youth for Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.03.2023 - 28.02.2027

Young people are encouraged to increase their activism and to engage in joint community projects of public interest with municipal authorities and local companies. They acquire skills and self-confidence which provides them with better chances on the labor market, and some of them will develop into entrepreneurs who again create work opportunities accessible for all.


The "Bosnia i Herzegovina"-Platform

01.07.2020 - 31.12.2025

The Bosnia i Herzegovina Platform (BiH) is an initiative of diaspora associations that are already involved in development activities. The platform will enhance cooperation and strengthen the diaspora associations’ role as development actors. SDC aims at promoting the potential of migrants for sustainable development mainly through improved framework conditions. The permanent platform as an effective and dynamic network will set the grounds for competent coordination services to diaspora organizations, to the country of destination and to the country of origin.


Strengthening the Role of Local Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.05.2020 - 31.03.2024

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.

 

 

 


Housing solutions for displaced persons

Apartment building in Serbia

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022

As a consequence of the war in the 1990s, over three million people were displaced both within and beyond the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Twenty-five years after the Dayton Accords, the Western Balkans are still host to almost half a million vulnerable persons displaced by conflict in the former Yugoslavia. The Regional Housing Programme (RHP) aims to provide durable housing solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons in need.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Western Balkans
Migration
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022


CHF 1'555'000



Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Joint UN Project

01.09.2018 - 31.12.2022

High exposure to natural hazards coupled with insufficient technical, organizational, and financial capacities of BiH’s institutions and governments directly impede the country’s socio-economic development and increase population vulnerability. This Project, jointly implemented by five UN Agencies, will reduce the social and economic vulnerabilities of citizens and institutions affected by disasters and climate change by introducing and operationalizing an integrated model of disaster risk governance and livelihood enhancement starting with selected local municipalities.


Support to More Effective Mine Action and Strengthening of National Mine Action Capacities

01.09.2018 - 30.06.2021

More than 20 years after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) still pose a serious social, economic, environmental and security threat. This last project phase will focus on the improvement and practical implementation of land release techniques and procedures, thus contributing to mine-risk free Bosnia and Herzegovina within reasonable deadlines and to sustainable improvement of living conditions for the inhabitants in communities previously affected by ERW.


Support to the Juvenile Justice Reform

01.05.2018 - 30.11.2021

Since 2010, the child justice system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has undertaken a process of reform to which UNICEF, SDC and Sida have greatly contributed. Today the legal framework on juvenile justice is compliant with international standards, but the system for its implementation still needs to be strenghtened. This last project phase will focus on building the human capacity of justice and child protection professionals, and ensuring that adequate financial means are provided by the Government to implement this framework throughout the country. Awareness of children and their families about their rights and demanding access to justice will also be a priority.


Mental Health Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.03.2018 - 28.02.2023

The project supports the health authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop a sustainable system of community-based mental health care which provides quality services for persons with mental health problems and takes measures to reduce risks of development of such problems among the population. The respect of human rights and dignity of women and men with mental health disorders, their families and of those at risk of developing such disorders shall be improved as well as social inclusion and quality of life of these persons.


Strengthening Associations of Municipalities and Cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.01.2018 - 31.01.2022

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.


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.

Object 1 – 12 of 27