Bosnia and Herzegovina

Switzerland is assisting Bosnia and Herzegovina in its transition towards a democratic society and social market economy. Cooperation activities focus on supporting inclusive political reform, encouraging economic development and strengthening the health sector.

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina
© FDFA

The Dayton Peace Agreement put an end to the war in Bosnia in 1995 following four years of devastation and bloodshed. The agreement still influences the political structure of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), a fragile state split into three parts: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, inhabited mainly by people of Bosniak and Croat origin; Republika Srpska, where mainly people of Serb origin live, and the District of Brčko, a self-governing administrative area. 

Ethnic divides still influence the country’s politics and reform is slow. The economy suffers from severe structural deficits and there is 54% unemployment among young people aged between 15 and 24. Social and economic divides are growing and nearly 50% of the population is exposed to some form of discrimination. Nevertheless, BiH applied to join the European Union in February 2016 and its application was accepted in September of that year. However, the country must still overcome important hurdles to become a member state.

Democratic governance, municipal services and justice

In its cooperation with BiH, Switzerland is helping to develop accountable institutions tailored to citizens’ needs by improving access to public services and making them easier to use. The inclusion of marginalised groups is a key concern. Furthermore, Switzerland is working to increase decentralisation in politics, the tax system and administrative matters by encouraging better cooperation between the different levels of government. It is also supporting reforms in the justice system to rebuild citizens’ confidence in their institutions and society as a whole.

State and Economic Reforms

Advocacy and Good Governance

Healthcare

The aim in this sector is to guarantee universal access to good-quality primary healthcare and equip people with knowledge to help them to make better choices and adopt more healthy lifestyles. Switzerland’s efforts to set up primary healthcare services focus on the development of nursing services, on community mental healthcare and on preventing chronic diseases, which will reduce sector costs in the long term. 

Health

Economy and employment

Switzerland’s efforts in BiH encourage a business-friendly environment and new job opportunities. The two countries are working at the regional level to increase the transparency and efficiency of public finance mechanisms, while efforts to improve economic framework conditions envisage private sector growth and access to foreign markets for Bosnian businesses. 

Alongside these efforts, Switzerland is helping to fight unemployment among young people. It is assisting in the development of vocational education and training courses geared to market demand. It is also supporting government employment agencies in efforts to reintegrate unemployed people in the job market, with particular focus on disadvantaged groups including women.

Basic education and vocational training

Private Sector Development and financial services

Migration

In 2009, Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina signed a migration partnership to deal with the challenges and exploit the positive economic and social potential of migration. In the event of a continuation of the mass migration movements from the Middle East, which have particularly affected the Balkans region, Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to be prepared.

Migration

Organisation and partners

Switzerland coordinates its transition cooperation with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with other donor countries and organisations such as the UNDP, the World Health Organization and the World Bank Group. The principles of good governance and equal rights are an integral part of all programmes of the SDC and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Switzerland's main partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina are:

  • Swiss NGOs, e.g. Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation
  • Swiss partners: Cantons of Geneva, Jura, Fribourg and Bern; Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Canton of Zurich, Geneva University Hospitals
  • International NGO: CARE International
  • Multilateral organisations, e.g. UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, World Bank
  • National partners: Government departments, regional and local authorities (bodies, cantons, municipalities) and civil society organisations
  • Co-funding partners: Sweden, Norway, Germany

Documents

Current Projects

Object 1 – 12 of 22

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Improving nursing care for better health services

A nurse sitting in a treatment room.

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021

In Bosnia and Herzegovina nurses make up the largest group of healthcare professionals. However, the potential offered by their proximity to local communities is underexploited. They are often responsible for administrative tasks rather than patient care and, with limited career prospects, many nurses are attracted by better working conditions in Western Europe. This is regrettable because nurses and the care they provide can be a gateway to better health services for people living in rural areas and marginalised communities.

Country/region Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021


CHF 5'125'000



Prospects for young, unemployed adults in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2020

The aim of the Youth Employment Project (YEP) is to help public employment bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve their offer and to introduce youth-friendly services, such as individual and group careers advice for unemployed young adults between 18 and 30 years. Together with local partners, YEP also promotes new job opportunities linked to social entrepreneurship models.

Country/region Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2020


CHF 4'800'000



Expanding the vocational education and training system and teaching skills relevant to the labour market

01.11.2014 - 30.06.2019

The SDC is working to ensure that jobseekers and insufficiently skilled workers are taught skills relevant to the labour market within the formal and non-formal vocational education and training system in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The training is geared to the needs of the various economic sectors, so that workers can be deployed in a targeted manner.

Country/region Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.11.2014 - 30.06.2019


CHF 7'192'400



New approach in Bosnia and Herzegovina for democratisation

A man standing in front of a blue gate valve connected to a large blue pipe.

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s water and sanitation infrastructure is outdated and a large segment of the population has no access to a water supply. The starting point for the SDC’s project is good governance – the authorities must be transparent about building and renovation decisions, and ensure an inclusive political process for the citizens their decisions affect.

Country/region Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020


CHF 12'000'000



Strengthening the Role of Local Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Image of a ceremony of distributing certificates for local community and municipal representatives

01.11.2013 - 30.06.2019

Given the complex and difficult political and administrative environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina municipalities face serious challenges to serve their citizens properly, and citizens feel that their needs are not heard by politicians. The local administrative levels are considered the most dynamic and responsive ones to address citizen’s concerns. The project Strengthening the Role of Local Communities focuses on empowering Local Communities (Mjesna Zajednica – MZ) to raise citizens’ responsiveness, participation, and social inclusion in local development processes.

Country/region Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.11.2013 - 30.06.2019


CHF 4'100'000



The "Bosnia i Herzegovina"-Platform

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2025

The Bosnia i Herzegovina Platform (BiH) is an initiative of diaspora associations that are already involved in development activities. The platform will enhance cooperation and strengthen the diaspora associations’ role as development actors. SDC aims at promoting the potential of migrants for sustainable development mainly through improved framework conditions. The permanent platform as an effective and dynamic network will set the grounds for competent coordination services to diaspora organizations, to the country of destination and to the country of origin.


Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Joint UN Project

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022

High exposure to natural hazards coupled with insufficient technical, organizational, and financial capacities of BiH’s institutions and governments directly impede the country’s socio-economic development and increase population vulnerability. This Project, jointly implemented by five UN Agencies, will reduce the social and economic vulnerabilities of citizens and institutions affected by disasters and climate change by introducing and operationalizing an integrated model of disaster risk governance and livelihood enhancement starting with selected local municipalities.


Support to More Effective Mine Action and Strengthening of National Mine Action Capacities

01.09.2018 - 29.02.2020

More than 20 years after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) still pose a serious social, economic, environmental and security threat. This last project phase will focus on the improvement and practical implementation of land release techniques and procedures, thus contributing to mine-risk free Bosnia and Herzegovina within reasonable deadlines and to sustainable improvement of living conditions for the inhabitants in communities previously affected by ERW.


Planned project

Mozaik: Youth for Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina

15.07.2018 - 14.07.2025

Young people are encouraged to increase their activism and to engage in joint community projects of public interest with municipal authorities and local companies. They acquire skills and self-confidence which provides them with better chances on the labor market, and some of them will develop into entrepreneurs who again create work opportunities accessible for all.


Support to the Juvenile Justice Reform

01.05.2018 - 30.04.2021

Since 2010, the child justice system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has undertaken a process of reform to which UNICEF, SDC and Sida have greatly contributed. Today the legal framework on juvenile justice is compliant with international standards, but the system for its implementation still needs to be strenghtened. This last project phase will focus on building the human capacity of justice and child protection professionals, and ensuring that adequate financial means are provided by the Government to implement this framework throughout the country. Awareness of children and their families about their rights and demanding access to justice will also be a priority.


Mental Health Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.03.2018 - 28.02.2022

The project supports the health authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop a sustainable system of community-based mental health care which provides quality services for persons with mental health problems and takes measures to reduce risks of development of such problems among the population. The respect of human rights and dignity of women and men with mental health disorders, their families and of those at risk of developing such disorders shall be improved as well as social inclusion and quality of life of these persons.


Strengthening Associations of Municipalities and Cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.01.2018 - 31.07.2021

In the complex institutional and legal system and incomplete policy context for decentralisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the two entity Associations of Municipalities and Cities (AMCs) are formally recognized as actors of decentralization, advocating for local governments (LGs). The project aims at enhancing AMCs’ capacities to actively support local governments in the provision of efficient services to their citizens, and to improve LGs role, status and position towards higher levels of government in BiH.

Object 1 – 12 of 22