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EACEA National Policies Platform
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

8. Creativity and Culture

8.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 28 November 2023


Due to the decentralized political system and organization, BiH does not have a ministry of culture at the state level. Modest competences in this area are carried out at the state level by the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The main actors

At the state level of BiH, the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs is the only ministry that directly coordinates the field of culture. The main activity of the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs in the field of culture is through the budget, which has only two items that further serve to finance projects of domestic cultural institutions or other legal entities if it is a matter of international cooperation.

Building on the authority of the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs, the expert commissions at the BiH Council of Ministers has the authority to determine which projects will be allocated funds and to assess whether these projects meet criteria such as compliance with the BiH Cultural Policy Strategy.

The Department for Science and Culture at the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH is responsible for coordinating activities with the competent entity authorities and for defining strategies on an international level in the areas of science and culture. The Department bases its work on European documents and principles of international organisations in the field of science and culture, including the activities such as:

  • Monitoring the implementation of domestic agreements and strategic documents in the field of science and culture;
  • Actively monitoring European integration processes; monitoring the implementation of adopted conventions and declarations;
  • Leading and coordinating activities of cooperation with the organs and bodies of the European Union and the United Nations, as well as with other world associations in the field of science and culture;
  • Monitoring financial assistance programs of the European Union and other associations and initiating applications for them;
  • Collecting and analyzing information and data about science and culture in the country;
  • Participating in the work of international organizations in the field of science and culture and ensuring the fulfillment of BiH's international obligations in these fields;
  • Participating in the process of preparing international agreements/contracts in the field of science and culture; and
  • Working to strengthen and promote science and culture as essential parts of the overall socio-economic progress of the country and its status in Europe.

Within the Sector, administrative and technical support is also provided to the Commission for the Coordination of Youth Issues in BiH.

According to these data, it can be concluded that the cultural policy at the state level primarily has the purpose of providing a basis for the flow of funds that are further directed to lower levels and institutions, while in the essential creation of cultural policy it does not do much or make strides towards creating a basis for such action.

The FBiH Ministry of Culture and Sports performs administrative, professional and other tasks within the competence of FBiH related to the coordination of scientific and research activities in the field of protection and use of cultural and historical heritage, museums, archives, libraries, publishing, theaters, music, art and film, activities of institutions, associations, foundations and other legal entities in the field of art, culture, sports and youth, as well as other tasks established by law.

The Youth Department, established within the FBiH Ministry of Culture and Sports, performs tasks related to: the overall institutional mechanisms of government care for young people, cooperation and coordination of tasks with the youth sector and youth associations on research on the needs and issues of young people, as well as defining and proposing a FBiH policy towards young people, establishing and maintaining a comprehensive database on young people in cooperation with other institutions in FBiH, activities related to informing young people and strengthening the inclusion of young people in decision-making processes, defining, establishing and implementing action programs for young people in areas within the competence of the Ministry, planning special funds for the adoption of the Budget for the execution of tasks arising from the FBiH Youth Law (Official Gazette of FBiH, No: 36/10), monitoring the implementation of existing programs in the field of youth at the FBiH level, coordinating international cooperation in the field of youth, determination of training and certification procedures for youth officers, preparation of analyses, reports, information, studies, programs, plans, assessments and other professional, informative, planning, documentation and analytical materials in the field of youth, professional processing of system solutions of importance for young people, performs other tasks in order to protect the interests of young people.

The RS Ministry of Education and Culture performs administrative and other professional tasks in the field of culture related to:

  • Protection and use of cultural-historical heritage and natural heritage;
  • Museum, archive, librarian, publishing, theater, music, art, film and entertainment activities;
  • Organizations and associations of citizens in the field of art and culture, technical culture;
  • Maintaining the registry of public media;
  • Preparation of programs and agreements on cultural cooperation in accordance with the RS Constitution and the BiH Constitution;
  • Providing information through the media and other forms of information about their work and performing other tasks in accordance with the law and other regulations of RS and BiH.

In BD BiH, there is a Sub-department for Tourism, Culture and Sports within the Government of BD BiH, which performs all tasks from the scope of work related to theaters, galleries, libraries, cultural associations, events, sports and tourism, as well as other tasks under the jurisdiction determined by law and other regulations.

When it comes to cantons, the following ministries are responsible for the implementation of programs in the field of culture:

  1. Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of the Una-Sana Canton
  2. Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the PosavinaCanton
  3. Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth of the Tuzla Canton
  4. Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Zenica-Doboj Canton
  5. Ministry of Education, Youth, Science, Culture and Sports of the Bosnian-PodrinjeCanton
  6. Ministry of Education, Science, Youth, Culture and Sports of the Central Bosnian Canton
  7. Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton
  8. Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Western Herzegovina Canton
  9. Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Sarajevo Canton
  10. Ministry of Science, Education, Culture and Sports of the Canton10

The basic bearers of administrative functions in culture at the municipal level are the departments for social activities, and, at the level of cities and municipalities, cultural public institutions are established for the implementation and carrying out cultural activities in this area.

General distribution of responsibilities

The establishment and implementation of cultural policy, and thus the development of culture development policies in the entities and BD BiH, are treated differently. In RS, it is under the jurisdiction of the entities, while in FBiH, each of ten cantons is responsible for certain cultural activities that exist on the territory of that canton. According to the arbitration decision, the BD BiH should directly apply the regulations of BiH, but in the absence of those regulations, it addresses issues in the field of culture with its own regulations. The BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs is the only ministry at the state level that directly coordinates the field of culture, while entities, cantonal ministries in FBiH and the competent service of BD BiH are responsible for implementing cultural policies.

Cross-sectoral cooperation

When it comes to intersectoral cooperation, it mainly refers to the provision of financial support to public institutions at lower tiers of governance. The BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs announces an annual open call for the allocation of grant funds for the purpose of Assistance in the Co-financing of Cultural Institutions in BiH and an open call for the allocation of grant support for International Cultural Cooperation. Municipalities/cities establish public cultural institutions which are financed from the founder's budget.