The analysis “One step forward, two steps back” concluded that numerous recommendations were repeated for 2016 and that the most of them regards the lack of implementation of country-wide strategies which severely hamper the reform processes. Although numerous government representatives presented the last Country Report as one of the best and most positive so far, by analyzing the recommendations and conclusions it is easy to realize that the majority of statements were far from the reality and the subject matter of the report.
In cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Sarajevo University Faculty of Political Science ,we organized the panel discussion “2015-2025: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU path”. The event was inspired by the discussion paper by Osman Topčagić, written with the aim to entice discussion and debate about the current process of European integrations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the future of the Western Balkans countries.
Panel participants, Nedžma Džananović-Miraščija, assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Science Sarajevo, Svetlana Cenić, economic expert and Đorđe Tomić, senior assistant the Faculty of Political Science Banja Luka, underlined the need for structured and informed debates on this and similar topics in order for the public, and the key actors of the integration process, be more informed and make a substantive contribution.
Panelists also highlighted the importance of the separation of the reform processes from meddling of daily-political discourse so as to enable BiH to finally move forward with the stabilization and association process and do so for the well-being of all of its citizens, and not individual interests.
Foreign Policy Initiative BH, organized the second meeting of National PAR Working Group in BiH in Sarajevo, 25.10.2017. The meeting is organized as part of the regional WeBER project, financed by European Commission and co-financed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Representatives of 23 civil society organizations from BiH, which form the NWG for monitoring of Public Administration Reform on local level in BiH took part in the meeting.
Previous results and achievements as well as future plans for activities within WeBER project were presented. Furthermore, OCDs which were awarded grants within the project presented their activities and future plans. Through discussion and familiarization with activities within their local communities, representatives of NWG concluded that it is necessary to further educate public servants on local and cantonal level about PAR. They also underlined that it is necessary to explain the process of PAR to the citizens and present them what a reformed public service should bring to them (efficient and professional administration, simpler procedures, no long queues, budget spending and public service recruitment transparency, etc).
In the afternoon session, Senior Expert Associate for Public Relations of PARCO in BiH, Vedrana Faladžić presented the activities of PARCO in BiH and invited the representatives of CSOs to actively participated in public consultations which are to be held in Sarajevo and Banja Luka. Aneta Raić, Head of the Unit for Donor Coordination, Finances, Monitoring and Evaluation spoke about the next step and plans of PARCO BiH.
Foreign Policy Initiative BH, in cooperation with Women’s Caucus of FBiH Parliament organized the three-day training on political economy and gender-sensitive budgeting in Konjic (9-11 October 2017). The training is the continuance of a long and successful cooperation between FPI BH and Women’s Caucus members with the aim to strengthen the capacities and offer expert assistance for the realization of plans and initiatives.
During the opening remarks, Kenela Zuko, Caucus President, underlined the significance of the cooperation of the Caucus with civil society organizations and intensifying of efforts towards various initiatives and the usefulness of such intensive training for the future activities of the Caucus.
The parliamentarians had the opportunity to discuss about political, economic and legal system of BiH, as well as the countries in the region, Europe and the world and the role of the state in economy and the world. One of the topics for discussion was the current state of affairs globally and its influence to BiH. By analyzing the economic programmes of political parties in BiH and Europe, Parliamentarians discussed about the possible solutions for the local economic governance. Irma Efendić Adžajlić held the lecture and interactive workshop on gender-sensitive budgeting and the influence the members of the Caucus can exert in ensuring increase in transparency of gender sensitive budget spending.
The project is financed by the grant from US Department of State.
Foreign Policy Initiative BH organized visits and meetings with representatives of six civil society organizations which are grantees under the “Small grants for monitoring of PAR on the local level” WeBER programme in BiH from 14th to 27th July 2017. The visits were organized as part of the WeBER project, financed by European Commission and co-financed by Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Representatives of FPI BH WeBER team visited organizations from Sarajevo, East Sarajevo, Bratunac, Doboj, Banja Luka and Livno. During the meetings, the grantees presented the project activities, challenges and problems faced so far and the next steps in the implementation. Representatives of all six organization realized preparatory activities in their local communities and have begun the work on the research methodology.
Grantees from BiH:
Udruženje građana CORDIS Istočna Ilidža
Project title: Monitoring, education of citizens and raising of awareness on public administration reform on the local level
Research will be conducted in six municipalities: Istočna Ilidža,Istočno Novo Sarajevo, Istočni Stari Grad, Trnovo, Pale and Sokolac.
Udruženje žena Priroda Bratunac
Project title: Monitoring of local assemblies – application of citizen mechanisms in the decision making process
Research will be conducted in three municipalities: Srebrenica, Milići and Bratunac.
Udruženje za razvoj civilnog društva Motivator Sarajevo
Project title: Local government – our service!
Research will be conducted in Sarajevo Canton – 6 municipalities (Opština Centar, Stari Grad,Novi Grad, Novo Sarajevo, Ilidža, Vogošća).
Centar za razvoj civilnog društva u BiH Doboj
Project title: Monitoring of responsibility and service providing by local government in municipalities Doboj Istok, Gračanica, Petrovo, Lukavac, Doboj Jug and Tešanj.
Agencija za razvoj preduzeća EDA Banja Luka
Project title: Strengthening of CSOs and local media in improving transparency of local government
Research will be conducted in cities of Banja Luka and Tuzla.
Centar za građansku suradnju Livno
Project title: Citizens for responsible local government
Research will be conducted in four municipalities: Posušje, Grude, Livno and Tomislavgrad
While commenting the analysis, Adnan Muminović, Political Economic Adviser in the Office of the EU Special Representative in BiH and Denisa Sarajlić, mentor on the analysis and President of FPI BH Assembly, highlighted the importance of the informative dimension of the analysis, which gives a unique and objective overview and evaluation of the progress BiH made in achieving the goals from the Agenda. Panel members underlined that one of the key problems in presenting the Agenda and its goals was the communication of the same with the wider public, during its drafting as well as during the implementation.
In the discussion which followed the presentation and comments were questions, dilemmas and different understanding about possible consequences of daily politics and blocking of the progress as well as the potential ending of Agenda’s implementation. It was pointed that the current stalemate in the implementation is the mirage of lack of determination by the government in ensuring the stability in the country and its progress towards EU membership. Even though the participants agreed that Reform Agenda was necessary in order to provide comprehensive and structured guidelines for the implementation of socio-economic reforms, numerous key social aspects were not taken into consideration which would ensure much visible progress in the implementation of reforms, both for the government and the wider public.
On the first day of the workshop for grantees of WeBER project “Small Grant Facility for civil society monitoring of PAR at local level” from BiH, the contracts with grant recipients were officially signed.
Western Balkans Enabling Project for Civil Society Monitoring of Public Administration Reform – WeBER – is a three-year project funded by the European Union and co-financed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Foreign Policy Initiative BH organized a seminar for civil society organizations from BiH “Effective monitoring of public policies”, within the framework of the WeBER project, financed by European Commission, and co-financed by Kingdom of the Netherlands. The seminar was organized in partnership with Visegrad fund and held in Ilidza, from 18-21 April.
The participants discussed the Concept Papers of the National Working Group on Public Administration Reform (PAR) and the establishment of the National Working Group in BiH (NRG). The NRG is a national consultative mechanism for civil society participation in dialogue with relevant state bodies on the design and monitoring of the PAR process in BiH. 22 organizations from BiH became members of the National Working Group in BiH.
Representatives of CSOs and media had the opportunity to listen to lectures about the process of writing and monitoring of public policies from Corina Stratulat from European Policy Centre from Brussels and about monitoring of the process from PAR expert, Milena Lazarević from European Policy Centre, coordinator of WeBER project from Belgrade.
The final event of the project “Support to the EU integration process of FBiH” was held today in Sarajevo. During the last eleven months, Foreign Policy Initiative BH implemented the project in cooperation with Public Administration International from London with financial support by the UK Government. H.E. British Ambassador to BiH, Edward Ferguson opened the event which was attended by Prime Minister of Canton 10, cantonal coordinators for European integration and partners in implementing the project activities.
During the introductory address, Ambassador Ferguson pointed that the aim of the project was to build capacities of cantonal governments in order for them to “answer to obligations like providing answers to the EU Questionnaire and fulfilling the acquis. The cantons managed to answer their parts of the Questionnaire timely, and as far as I know, adequately. This only confirms that where the political will exists this country can make progress and achievements, especially on its path to the EU.” The Ambassador highlighted that the support provided through the project is “just another example that United Kingdom remains devoted to helping Bosnia and Herzegovina on its path to membership in the EU and it will continue helping in implementing the necessary reforms after Brexit”.
Prime Minister of Canton 10, Draško Dalić underlined the relevance of the role of the cantons in the process of joining the EU and that, while there are many obligations ahead he hopes they will manage to fulfil them. Dijana Dedić, Coordinator for EU integrations from Una-Sana Canton stated that through the implementation of the project they managed to primarily form the capacities and then work on capacity building and through that we had the opportunity to successfully answers to questions in the Questionnaire.
Lejla Ramić-Mesihović, FPI BH Director stated that the aim of the project was raising of internal and human capacities of cantonal governments for the EU integration process, strengthening of the network of cantonal coordinators for EU integration and support in continuing the implementation of structural reforms. Project activities aimed to help cantonal governments to adequately answer to questions from the EU Questionnaire and effectively contribute to the work of coordination mechanism.
Foreign Policy Initiative BH, in cooperation with Faculty of Political Science of Sarajevo University organized the panel discussion “Challenges of the Enlargement Process and Regional Cooperation” on 17 March in Sarajevo. Event was organized in an effort to entice the debate on successes and challenges of the accession process of Western Balkan countries as well as the relevance of regional and bilateral diplomatic cooperation and the involvement of civil society organizations and academia in the process.
Members of the panel, Minister of European Affairs on Montenegro and Chief Negotiator, Aleksandar Andrija Pejović, Director of BiH Directorate for European Integrations, Edin Dilberović, Assistant Professor from Sarajevo Faculty of Political Science and FPI BH Director, Lejla Ramić-Mesihović presented activities for enhancement of regional cooperation and the significance of clearly defined goals and efforts in ensuring the stability and prosperity of the region. Economic development and regional cooperation are crucial in providing stability to the region and it is necessary to limit negative political influence which often hampers cooperation and retrogrades its effects.
During the discussion, panelist talked about the need for develop the spirit of confidence needed for the reaffirmation of EU enlargement despite the comprehensive context of instability of the Union and the need for a structured and efficient cooperation of institutions with civil society organizations, academia and media. Faced with limited capacities for the enlargement process, through close cooperation with non-governmental sector, academia and expert community, Montenegro managed to sustain the integration process and strengthened the work of the institutions and ensure the quality of the process. Participants also underlines the importance of cooperation with the media in order to spread positive news on progress with the reforms and that it is crucial present the process to the citizens in an understanding way which would ensure their interest and participation in the process.
Minister Pejović presented the course of Montenegro’s enlargement process and the ways in which they managed overcome obstacles and ensure undisturbed progress towards membership. As the Chief Negotiator for Montenegro, Minister Pejović highlighted the potential challenges BiH will face and solutions for overcoming them, pointing out the necessity of bilateral and multilateral cooperation within the region so as to provide for transfer of knowledge and good practices.
In order for Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure positive momentum and be able to use all advantages of the pre-accession funds, it is necessary to adopt strategies and solve internal challenges and to have a clear vision of the path the country will take. DEI Director underlined that BiH needs to develop in this aspect and to use it as a comparative advantage. On several occasion, participants highlighted that compromise is inwrought in the core of development and functioning of the European Union and that it is necessary for everyone wanting to function within European structures.