In the new position paper, Foreign Policy Initiative BH looks at the current bilateral and multilateral relations in the Western Balkans in line of forthcoming high level meetings and the new EU enlargement strategy.
What do “frozen conflicts” and “Balkanization” mean in the Balkans and what in the EU?
The event panelists, Nedžma Džananović-Miraščija from the Faculty of Political Science of Sarajevo University, Inela Hadžimešić, from the Initiative for Monitoring of EU Integrations and Lejla Ramić-Mesihović, Director of Foreign Policy Initiative BH highlighted the importance of more credible reform processes within the rule of law in order for BiH to progress in the EU integration process.
Lejla Ramić-Mesihović presented the key conclusions and recommendations of the country analysis for BiH done as part of the project, the title of which indicates that the next steps in the EU integration process will lead to the “masks falling off” and that the relevant institutions will have to be more accountable. The panelists agreed that the involvement of the civil society and the expert academia is necessary in order to widen the discourse on these topics, exert pressure and monitor the work of the institutions and that the reforms cannot be only declarative.
Highlighting the regional aspect of the project, it was underlined that the problems BiH faces are not unique and that they are shared by majority of the Western Balkan countries, which is why the approach of the international community and the European Union in developing of benchmarks and conditionality need to take into account such circumstances in order to be more effective.
During the discussion, the importance of joint activities by all stakeholder involved in the process in order to support the reform processes was pointed out. The event was attended by representatives of institutions, political parties, civil society organizations and international institutions.
The project is financed by the European Fund for the Western Balkans and Open Society Fund.
Foreign Policy Initiative BH, in cooperation with SIGMA/OECD organized a seminar for representatives of National Working Group within WeBER project in order to present the monitoring results of Public Administration Reform in BiH by SIGMA as well as the first monitoring results of the WeBER project.
The event was attended by representatives of CSOs from BiH which form the National Working Group for monitoring of PAR on the local level and the representatives of organizations which implement projects supported by the Small Grant Facility for monitoring PAR on the local level by the WeBER project. Chloe Berger, Head of Operations for Justice, Home Affairs and Public Administration Reform from the Delegation of the European Union in BiH gave the introductory remarks and highlighted the important of inclusion of the civil society in the reform processes.
Primož Vehar, Brian Finn and Marian Lemke, SIGMA experts, presented the Monitoring Report for BiH for 2017 in the six areas of Public Administration Principles. Anida Šabanović, WeBER researcher presented the first monitoring results of the project. Members of WeBER platform, Transparency International BiH and Centre for Investigative Journalism as well as the WeBER grantees presented their projects and their monitoring results. Vedrana Faladžić and Aneta Raić from the BiH Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office presented the institution’s current activities in the sector as well as the ongoing development of the new Strategic framework for PAR in BiH.
Foreign Policy Initiative BH, in cooperation with Embassy of United States in Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized two three-day workshops in Sarajevo and Teslić from 5-10th February. The aim of the workshops was to empower BiH female politicians and political and social activists when it comes to negotiations skills which will help them in their future activities and advocacy for women’s rights in BiH.
The workshops were held by the world renowned expert in the field of negotiations in the work place, Mrs Deborah Kolb, PhD, Harvard Law School emerita. Professor Kolb is especially interested in the relations between negotiations and gender issues. She started working on gender issues during the 1980s, when this area was significantly overlooked. Professor Kolb is the author of several books, the most recent being “Negotiation at Work- Turn Small Wins into Big Gains”.
The professor underlined that when it comes to negotiation preparations, one must all have sufficient, defensible arguments ready. “You need to look at what the other side has. Knowing the facts has a double effect. You will have greater legitimacy in creating conditions and it will be easier to find advantages, which means that the negotiations have a greater chance of succeeding. What is good for you is good for your organization. It is important to understand the other side- recognizes the five reasons for which the other side might say no to you. If you know their perspective, it is easier to handle the situation”, she pointed to the participants.
Through the interactive workshops, the participants were given the opportunity to learn about the importance of self-confidence in the negotiations and the importance of understanding the negotiating position of the other side, but also of defining one’s own goals. One of the key conclusions the participants highlighted is the importance of having allies, which could provide assistance and help the negotiations.
Through dynamic exercises and acquired skills, the negotiation simulations empowered the participants to be more determined in future negotiations, be they in their business, social or political engagements.
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.