Continuation of Support to Reinforcement of Local Democracy

Apr 18, 2014

The Civil Society Organisations Conference on Provision of Services in Local Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Within the UNDP's project Reinforcement of Local Democracy III – LOD III funded by EU, a two-day Civil Society Organisations Conference on Provision of Services in Local Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina was held in Sarajevo on April 16-17, 2014. Over 50 civil society organizations (CSO), working in the fields of social inclusion, persons with disabilities and employment, participated in the Conference.

Natalia Dianiskova, Head of Operations Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation in the European Union (EU) to BiH stated that this is year is the six year that EU is implementing together with UNDP, civil society and municipalities in local democracy projects.

„We financed this project in all three phases with around 5 mil Euros. On top of this we had also allocated 2 mil Euros for the next phase of the project which is starting this summer“, stressed Dianiskova.

Zahira Virani, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in BiH stated that LOD project continues to strengthen local democratic processes through the improvement of cooperation between civil society and local authorities.

„We are trying to provide the tools for transparency and accountability on both sides. Civil society is becoming reliable partner for local communities. We see that service delivery is actually improving, because the resources are now allocated based on the real needs and priorities“, Zahira Virani explained.

The goal of the conference was to provide an open space for exchange of experiences and good practices on implementation of projects in local communities and creating future plans of activities.

A part of the conference was designed to comprise a work in thematic groups through which it was concluded that the standardisation of services and the establishment of criteria in the field of specific services provided by CSO is essential in terms of further professionalization. The LOD methodology is a good example of provision of these tools to the local communities and civil society organisations that are specifically related to the implementation of strategic documents.

Also, one of the conclusions of the conference was that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country where half of million of people are unemployed, the major issue in the area of employment is the lack of strategic action. The main recommendation of the thematic group was to design strategic documents in local communities, where these documents are often not aligned with the real economic needs of people. It is necessary to approach to restructuring of the already obsolete education system, as well as to introduce new standards and to define fields of informal education which is not adequately addressed within the domestic legislation.

There are numerous problems that persons with disabilities are facing on daily basis. Lack of correct and early diagnosis for children with disabilities is one of the key problems in BiH. Social inclusion, or social life, is one of the most important needs of persons and children with disabilities; however, that same social life is often limited to the institutions in which these persons are being rehabilitated, such as healthcare facilities, day care centres etc. Opportunities for permanent employment of persons with disabilities are scarce despite the fact that there are certain legal possibilities and benefits at disposal to employers.

“Reinforcement of Local Democracy III – LOD III” is a project implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded by the European Union through Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) in the amount of 2 million Euros. In its third phase, the project LOD continues to strengthen the local democratic processes through the improvement of the cooperation between the civil society and the local authorities. The results of the conference specifically contribute to one of the objectives of the LOD project and that is: Encouraging CSO’s to define/professionalise their activities, adopt the practice of long-term planning, act in accordance with the local needs and be less dependent on the current donor priorities.