New vision of local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Having a community vision in place is fundamental to advancing its underlying values. Without a vision, it is difficult to set the desired direction for community development or to define its future.
This was the basic idea that guided the drafting of this document. It defines the vision for local communities (MZs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and offers an image of an ideal inclusive and gender sensitive future MZ as seen and agreed by citizens.
Mindful of this goal, different population categories were included in the development of the MZ vision so that the vision reflects their different needs and the voices of women and marginalised groups in particular. The findings and conclusions of this report are based exclusively on the views expressed by respondents in the research through different methods of involving citizens in this process.
In addition to citizens, the process also gathered representatives of relevant institutions at higher levels of government. This included both entity Associations of Municipalities and Cities, and representatives of local government units (LGUs), MZs, civil society organisations, academia, the media and others seen as central to the vision of MZs in BiH.
In line with the definition of the vision, this document is aimed at setting the foundation for the development of MZs as a form of citizen participation in the decision-making process at the local level. In this way, MZs can make a significant contribution to strengthening democracy and empowering civic participation in BiH. The vision also envisages the MZ as a service provider to citizens and as a gathering point for and facilitator of citizen initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life.
However, the vision of the future MZ alone will not lead to the realisation of a better future unless accompanied by the application of practices and legal arrangements that will lead to the fulfilment of this vision. Therefore, this document suggests a structured approach to the development of MZs that relies on best practice already in place in many areas and the solutions proposed by the citizens themselves throughout this process.
This vision reconciles theory and practice and can bridge traditional and modern approaches to community development by utilising novelty and creativity and by involving different segments of society. In this sense, it is applicable to different environments and parts of the country. It does not prescribe but instead recommends and opens up space for creative solutions that should be harmonised with the needs of citizens and their communities.