20 years of dynamic cooperation
Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have been long-standing partners ever since the declaration of the country’s independence in 1992. During the armed conflict of 1992–95, many people from BiH in particular and from the Balkans in general found refuge in Switzerland. Since 1995, Switzerland has been maintaining diplomatic relations with BiH. Through the joint Cooperation Program, Switzerland has been supporting BiH’s transition towards a socially inclusive market economy and a decentralized, democratic political system, with the longer-term perspective of European integration, ever since 1996.
Partnership and cooperation between the two countries over the last 20 years has been dynamic. Supporting the country in implementing its national development goals and international commitments, the Swiss Cooperation Program in BiH is jointly implemented by various Swiss federal institutions:
- the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Human Security Division (HSD), as divisions of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FDFA),
- the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), as division of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER),
- the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), as division of the Swiss Federal Department for Justice and Police.
Peace promotion, humanitarian aid, assistance to returnees, support to political reforms, rule of law and democracy, the development of citizens’ oriented local governments providing public services and municipal infrastructure of good quality, upgrading of the judiciary system, promoting socio-economic development and employment, as well as health care services have been the main lines of the BiH-Swiss Cooperation Program. Swiss interventions build upon well-established relations with key actors at all levels of government, civil society, the private sector and other cooperation agencies (bilateral and multilateral).
The Swiss Development Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently focusing its support on four main domains:
- Local Governance & Municipal Services
- Economy and Employment
- Migration Partnership
- Regional Cooperation
Special attention is given to gender and the good governance as transversal issues.
BiH is a priority country for the Swiss Cooperation in Eastern Europe. Since 1996, Switzerland has officially contributed over one billion BAM to BiH through local and regional development projects, and through contributions to multilateral programs.
In 2016, the Swiss Cooperation celebrates its 20th anniversary in BiH. This year’s anniversary provides an opportunity not just to celebrate the past achievements, but also to present future cooperation goals in accordance with the upcoming Cooperation Strategy 2017-2020.