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Bosnia and Herzegovina

In 2012, following a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina by the UN Secretary-General, all three members of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Tripartite Presidency requested UN support to place dialogue and trust building front and centre of their agendas to help the country overcome lingering inter-communal divisions that hamper BiH’s progress toward peace.  Their request signalled historic consensus at the highest levels about the importance of such dialogue and resulted in the development of the project “Dialogue for the Future.”  Since the project’s launch in mid-2014, “Dialogue for the Future” has promoted dialogue through a multifaceted approach utilising conferences, small grants to educational and cultural associations, and a mass media campaign.

Total funding support in US$:

  • IRF – $2,000,000

Focus of PBF support:

Key outcomes of the project include strengthening domestic capacities for peace building through policy dialogue and change, and enhancing public perceptions and attitudes that will result in an increase in open dialogue activities between citizens and communities in BiH.

Project name/ ID Focus Period Budget RUNOs
PBF/IRF-92: Dialogue for the future: Promoting Coexistence and Diversity (Bosnia and Herzegovina)  To create spaces for dialogue that will promote coexistence, trust building and appreciation of diversity, with special focus to increase the participation, awareness and influence of youth in policy dialogue. July 2014- July 2016 $2 million UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO

 Overview of PBF support and results:

The signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in late 1995 helped end a devastating four-year war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but set in place an intricate network of political institutions and processes that has sustained the deep divisions of the war to the present.  Divisions cut across political, economic, educational, cultural, and social institutions and inhibit the reestablishment of the kind of positive inter-communal relations needed to bolster meaningful peace. In the absence of opportunities to build such ties, BiH’s political transition has stalled. “Dialogue for the Future” is positioned to provide both specific opportunities for direct communication and interaction between citizens and communities on important policy challenges, as well as promote a wider shift in public perceptions about the possibility for building more cohesive social relations.

KEY RESULTS:

  • The signing of a common Declaration and separate official statements that affirm the importance of peacebuilding by the members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the President of Republika Srpska.
  • Launch of 40 local peacebuilding initiatives throughout the country, including cross-border activities with communities in Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.

Through dialogue conferences and more targeted local youth forums, the project has provided opportunities for citizens – and especially youth – to engage each other and decision makers in debate about key policy challenges to the country’s development and reform agendas.  A small grants facility to provide seed funding to a broad network of local initiatives has paired with the dialogue spaces to translate discussion about inter-communal understanding into more concrete action. The project received 342 applications to the small grants facility, demonstrating broad interest among local communities to begin to reach across and mend social divisions.  These targeted activities have been supported by a more general public awareness campaign that has promoted increased media coverage of positive stories of inter-communal initiatives as well as a 20-episode television drama that probes the difficulties facing average citizens as a result of political stalemate and frozen relations.

 

Video


Key documents/links:

Updated July 2016