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 13 – 24 of 32

Mental Health Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.03.2018 - 28.02.2022

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.


Promoting Healthy Lifestyles and Gender Equitable Attitudes among Young Men and Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2020

Attitudes and behaviors of the current generation of young people in BiH are still shaped by patriarchal values, which influence the lifestyles of boys and girls and their respective vulnerability to health risks. Young men are more inclined to engage in harmful and dangerous activities and are much more likely to use violence - against women and peers - than women. The proposed intervention will promote healthier lifestyles and challenge existing gender stereotypes by working with young men, as well as women, in schools and local communities.


Market Makers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.06.2017 - 31.05.2021

MarketMakers (MM) addresses the high rate of youth unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is the main cause for the acute brain drain. To contribute to reduction of youth unemployment the project aims at systemic changes in the ICI, food production and processing, tourism and tradable services sectors, leading to their growth, more investments and new job opportunities.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: Integrated Local Development (ILDP)

A woman and two men stand at the counter of a local administration and discuss their concerns with the official.

01.03.2017 - 31.08.2021

Through the lntegrated Local Development Project (ILDP) Switzerland supports Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in establishing a modern development planning system country wide which responds to citizens‘ needs and allows efficient use of budgets and external funds. The ILDP consolidation phase will ensure coherence of development planning and management on all governmental levels, accountability towards citizens, as well as on knowledge transfer to responsible institutions, in order to improve service delivery and accelerate inclusive growth at local level.


Mainstreaming the Concept of Migration and Development into Strategies, Policies and Actions in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Diaspora for Development (D4D)

05.12.2016 - 31.12.2020

About 2 million BiH citizens reside outside their country of origin. They retain strong connections with their homeland, and many of them are interested in contributing to its development with skills, know-how and financial investment. Switzerland supports BiH (in both entities and Brčko district) in creating a favorable environment for leveraging diaspora’s human and financial capital (as investors, providers of know-how and networkers) for the development of the country, thus contributing to economic growth, employment and income.


Contribution to the Roma Education Fund (REF)

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2020

REF is the lead organization for Roma education. SDC is supporting REF from its inception, contributing in a relevant way to the Roma decade. REF recently defined a strategy (2015-20) and is strengthening its results orientation. By continuing the partnership with REF, with a focus on pro-inclusion policy dialogue, SDC ensures coherence and consistence of its position in the Roma inclusion agenda. REF's focus on children from early childhood is crucial for the social inclusion of the next generation of Roma.


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.


Reducing Health Risk Factors in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.12.2012 - 31.03.2021

Chronic diseases are the main cause of death and disability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, entailing substantial costs for the country. Chronic diseases are to a large extent influenced by unhealthy lifestyles, which means that they can be prevented by changing behaviors. The project will facilitate an increased focus of country’s health system on preventive care, reducing behavioural risks factors among the population. In the longer term, strengthened prevention should lead to a reduction in chronic diseases and significant cost savings.


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.

Object 13 – 24 of 32