1.8 Cross-border cooperation
Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently beneficiary of the Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance 2021-2027 (IPA III) program that opens opportunities for cross-border cooperation in the field of civil society development and provides support to use of EU funds. Bilateral IPA II Indicative funding allocations in the period 2014-2020 amount to €552.1 million (including funds for the Civil Society Facility (€9.1 million), Regional Housing Programme (€10 million) and special measures following 2014 floods (€51 million)).
EU countries like Germany, Italy, Austria, France and Sweden, through their respective embassies and development agencies, were investing in youth policy development at national and local levels in BiH.
Regarding the cooperation of BiH with the United Nations, it is implemented trough UNCT (the United Nations Country Team) in BiH. UNCT consists of twelve funds, United Nations Programmes and Specialised Agencies (UNHCR, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, WHO, ILO, UNESCO, UN Women, UNV, FAO, UNEP, UNODC); the Bretton Woods Institutions (World Bank, IFC, IMF); UNICTY Office and IOM. Several regionally-based UN Agencies (UNIDO, IFAD, IAEA) are also operational in BiH through the implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) BiH 2021-2025. This Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (CF) describes four strategic priorities for joint work by 2025:
- Sustainable, resilient and inclusive growth;
- Quality, accessible and inclusive education, health and social protection;
- People cantered governance and rule of law;
- Citizen and community engagement for social cohesion.
UNCT also co-operates and co-ordinates activities effectively and exhaustively in the areas of HIV/AIDS prevention, youth and employment issues, people with disabilities, local development and Roma issues.
The Council of Europe “Action Plan for BiH 2018-2021” will continue to support the authorities of BiH in progressing with (and completing
where possible) the strategic reforms undertaken in priority areas, such as:
- Human rights protection and anti-discrimination;
- Judicial reforms;
- Penitentiary/police reforms, including the reintegration of extremist prisoners into society;
- Fight against corruption, money laundering and the financing of terrorism, and cybercrime;
- Freedom of expression and media;
- Local democracy;
- Electoral reforms;
- Interethnic dialogue and reconciliation at local level;
- Social cohesion, with a special reference to the empowerment of Roma population.
Based on recent findings of monitoring and advisory mechanisms, the Council of Europe, and the authorities of BiH have also identified the following areas for possible future co-operation:
- Fight against violence against women and domestic violence;
- Combating trafficking in human beings;
- Promoting social rights.
The Council of Europe has implemented a variety of actions with youth actors from BiH over the last years, in particular: the Youth Peace Ambassadors project, training workshops the publication of Compass, the manual on human rights education for young people, as well as other activities and projects at the European Youth Centres. Based on this experience, the proposed action will support the involvement of youth organizations in conflict-transformation processes.
Support will be provided to cross-community projects by training youth leaders in regional youth peace camps led by Youth Peace Ambassadors. Youth leaders and youth workers will be trained to mainstream human rights education in youth activities and youth work practice. The recognition of youth work and youth organizations’ role as schools of democracy will be achieved through community and inter-community training activities between civil servants dealing with youth matters and youth organizations’ representatives.
Youth groups in BiH will also be encouraged to participate in the youth campaign “No Hate Speech Movement”. A specific focus and emphasis will be placed on increasing the levels of participation of young Roma people at both local and regional levels.
The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina is active in the youth field through their initiative to establish a Youth Advisory Group at the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and a more recent initiative aiming to develop school-supported activities to counter and prevent violent extremism from taking ground in educational environments.
Non-EU countries active in youth development field in Bosnia and Herzegovina are USA and Switzerland. Those countries are active through their respective embassies and developmental agencies and have country strategies documents that highly prioritize youth issues.