Success Stories of Cooperation in Local Communities

18 Jan 2016

According to official statistics, over two million people are migrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina. This represents more than 50% of the country’s population and thus ranks it amongst the European countries with the highest percentage of migrants in relation of the native population. Migrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina are often highly educated and successful and have strong ties to their home country, as evidenced by the level of remittances from abroad that total 3.5 billion BAM annually. Yet such migrant ties to Bosnia and Herzegovina are generally restricted to a private or family nature, due to insufficient institutional support. Consequently, this vast potential remains underdeveloped in terms of economic, technical, educational and cultural cooperation beneficial to all of its citizens, both within and beyond its borders, and progress in the country as a whole.

Recognising this potential, the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the government of Switzerland and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a project in July of 2013 on Mainstreaming the Concept of Migration and Development into Relevant Policies, Plans and Activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Migration and Development Project). The project objectives were twofold: (i) to support government institution s in improving policies and practices to enhance cooperation with migrants and (ii) strengthen the capacities of local communities for such cooperation. One of the project activities involved mainstreaming the concept of migration and development into the development strategies of then partner local governments. This resulted in concrete initiatives aimed at establishing or enhancing cooperation with businesses and individuals or associations of migrants, all targeted at achieving concrete development results at the local level.

Local initiatives were implemented in Jajce, Ključ, Laktaši, Ljubuški, Maglaj, Nevesinje, Posušje, Prijedor, Sanski Most and Velika Kladuša in 2014 and 2015. The initiatives were financed through the project with the full support of the Government of Switzerland. There was significant involvement of partner cities and municipalities, individuals and businesses from the diaspora as well as the final beneficiaries. Their total value was approximately 1,225,000 BAM.

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