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

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


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. 


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


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.


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


Current Projects

Object 1 – 12 of 20

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

01.11.2014 - 31.10.2018

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 - 31.10.2018

CHF 7'192'400

A community-based mental healthcare system

01.03.2014 - 28.02.2018

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, much of the population is still suffering the consequences of the war which ravaged the Balkans in the 1990s. Since 2010, Switzerland has been helping the country to modernise its mental healthcare system to give patients access to high quality services in their communities.

Country/region Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.03.2014 - 28.02.2018

CHF 5'665'000

The SDC supports efforts to improve conditions for the protection of children and adolescents

Young people drawing in the schoolyard with chalk.

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2017

The government in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) wants to reform the country's juvenile criminal legislation and improve the conditions of detention and follow-up for  juvenile criminal offenders. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) have been conducting a project to this end since 2009.

Country/region Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2017

CHF 2'250'000

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.

Market Makers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.06.2017 - 31.05.2021

MarketMakers (MM) addresses the high rate of youth unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is the main cause for the acute brain drain. To contribute to reduction of youth unemployment the project aims at systemic changes in the ICI, food production and processing, tourism and tradable services sectors, leading to their growth, more investments and new job opportunities.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Integrated Local Development (ILDP)

A woman and two men stand at the counter of a local administration and discuss their concerns with the official.

01.03.2017 - 28.02.2021

Through the lntegrated Local Development Project (ILDP) Switzerland supports Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in establishing a modern development planning system country wide which responds to citizens‘ needs and allows efficient use of budgets and external funds. The ILDP consolidation phase will ensure coherence of development planning and management on all governmental levels, accountability towards citizens, as well as on knowledge transfer to responsible institutions, in order to improve service delivery and accelerate inclusive growth at local level.

BiH Diaspora Plattform

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019

Das Projekt schaff den Rahmen für einen relevanten Beitrag der BiH Diaspora in der Schweiz an die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung, die Demokratiebildung sowie die Stärkung der sozialen Kohäsion im Herkunftsland, da sich ein signifikanter Teil der BiH Diaspora in der Schweiz aufhält. Eine ethnisch und konfessionell unabhängige BiH Diaspora Plattform kann eine doppelte Brückenfunktion sowohl innerhalb der heterogenen BiH Diaspora als auch im fragmentierten Gefüge von BiH haben.

Mainstreaming the Concept of Migration and Development into Strategies, Policies and Actions in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Diaspora for Development (D4D)

05.12.2016 - 30.06.2019

About 2 million BiH citizens reside outside their country of origin. They retain strong connections with their homeland, and many of them are interested in contributing to its development with skills, know-how and financial investment. Switzerland supports BiH (in both entities and Brčko district) in creating a favorable environment for leveraging diaspora’s human and financial capital (as investors, providers of know-how and networkers) for the development of the country, thus contributing to economic growth, employment and income.

Youth Employment Project

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2020

Youth Employment Project (YEP) helps the public employment services to improve their mediation performance, introduce youth friendly service, e.g. individual and group counselling for unemployed young people aged 18-30. Together with the local partners, YEP promotes new, (self)-employment opportunities linked with the social entrepreneurship models - in particular for the most disadvantaged, socially excluded youth.

Support to more effective Mine Action and Strengthening of National Mine Action Capacities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.12.2015 - 30.06.2018

The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has left behind a grim legacy of mines and other explosive remnants. This leftover has a negative impact on the quality of life of the affected population and hampers the development. With this project, Switzerland will contribute to improving the quality of life of the population in areas affected by mines and other explosive remnants of war by speeding up and supporting more effective mine action activities in BiH and thus creating preconditions for socio-economic development in the country.

Planned project

Bosnia Herzegovina: Strengthening Associations of Municipalities and Cities

01.07.2015 - 30.06.2019

Both Associations of Municipalities and Cities (AMCs) in the Federation and the Republika Srpska have an increasingly important role in advocating for changes in policy, legislation and funding on behalf of municipalities. They represent their members in national policy development dialogues and act as intermediary between central and local governments. Successful decentralization relies on strong associations of local authorities capacitated to drive intensive advocacy processes and promote decentralization.

Object 1 – 12 of 20