Eight regional working meetings for a single vision of local communities

Feb 3, 2017

Eight regional working meetings were held throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina within the project "Strengthening the Role of Local Communities (MZ) in BiH" from August to December 2016. At the meetings in Sarajevo, Tuzla, Banja Luka, Mostar, Bihać, Brčko, Bijeljina and Trebinje participants worked on defining the vision of the local community through productive discussions, which is the vision that will be used as a model for the future of BiH local governments.

"Strengthening the role of local communities in BiH" is a joint project of the Swiss Government and the Government of Sweden in the amount of 14.5 million, and it is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project aims to increase democratic and direct participation of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the local government, strengthen the responsibility of municipal authorities and the improvement of infrastructure and services at the level of local communities.

The process of development of the vision of the local community is crucial for the project, because it is derived from ideas to strengthen cooperation between citizens and authorities at all levels. The mentioned meetings on the definition of roles, functions and responsibilities of existing local communities were attended by representatives of relevant institutions at higher levels of government, municipalities and local communities (MZ), civil society organizations, academia and the media. They were jointly devising a new, socially responsible and efficient local community through constructive talks.

Even though there is a good basis for development of the vision of local communities in BiH due to the traditional role that they had previously, war and transition events significantly hampered this. Therefore, the participants in this project focused on the future, and tried to imagine the ideal local community through the functions identified as essential for their work. Significant interest of the participants to change the current position of MZs was evident.

Close to 400 participants of the meetings in the partner local governments and more than 150 participants of the meetings held at the regional level in BiH gave recommendations and presented ideas for the new role of local communities through questionnaires. The inputs of the participants will be presented in the final report of the research to propose new models of local communities in BiH, and its promotion will be in the first quarter of 2017.

The institutions that collaborate in the project are the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, Federal Ministry of Justice, RS Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self Government, the Government of Brčko District and both associations of municipalities and cities as well as 23 partner municipalities (i.e. 125 local communities) are part of this project.