Agreement with Government Opens Decision-Making Processes to Bosnian Citizens

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Signing of the cooperation agreement to support civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina
USAID Civil Society Sustainability projectb

A cooperation agreement signed by the Bosnian government and local NGOs in September 2017 launched the process that will strengthen civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) significantly. Such an agreement may not register on the radar of the average citizen. But this one – which comes after years of hearings and public dialogue – empowers them and NGOs to engage in policy-making in their country in ways that were not possible before.

“Cooperation among government institutions, NGOs and interested public is one of the fundamental values of democratic societies. Our goal is to engage all levels of government in BiH in transparent and functional dialogue with citizens and NGOs,” U.S. Ambassador to BiH Maureen Cormack said at the signing.

The agreement was a culmination of a three-year partnership between the BiH Council of Ministers and USAID implementing partner, Center for Civil Society Promotion (CCSP), which helped organize multiple public hearings (in Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka and Bijeljina) and online consultations with the interested public via the website, eKonsultacije.gov.ba. The website is a user-friendly tool created for citizens and CSOs to engage in and provide input during the policymaking process of BiH institutions.  It will ensure sustainable engagement of civil society in decision-making processes and in developing more transparent and effective mechanisms for public funding. 

 

Agreement with Government Opens Decision-Making Processes to Bosnian Citizens
U.S. Ambassador Maureen Cormack (R) at the signing of the cooperation agreement to support civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH Denis Zvizdić and Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, the Head of the EU Delegation in BiH
USAID Civil Society Sustainability project

 

The agreement has “even greater significance” for BiH in its goal to join the EU, according to Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, the Head of the EU Delegation and special EU representative in BiH. “A functional dialogue with NGOs and participation of citizens in the process of creating and implementing public policies is an important element of the EU integration process,” he said, also at the signing.

Specifically, the Agreement provides for the establishment of an advisory body in the BiH Council of Ministers for cooperation with civil society NGOs. It also requires the council to develop transparent procedures for funding NGO programs and projects from the budgets. This effort and the activities of CCSP were only made possible through USAID’s Civil Society Sustainability Project.

Last updated: February 20, 2020

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