South East Europe National Pilot Projects (Local Development)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Archaeological/Nature Park of Donja Dolina-Bardaca (Municipalities of Srbac and Gradiška)
The LDPP overall objective is to help national, regional, and local institutions to identify the long term social and economic development potential of the territory, based on natural and cultural heritage enhancement.
The LDPP approach allows the testing of specific alternative development models and the setting up of the relevant institutional and legislative framework that determines regional policies and decentralisation mechanisms:
To conceive a joint local development project for the region, based on natural and cultural heritage;
To test an innovative approach of participation principles, involving local human resources, in order to conceive and manage the long term development project of the pilot territory;
To provide the necessary human and financial resources for the implementation of the pilot project, in compliance with already existing facilities;
To improve and develop capacities for a sustainable management of the territory;
To adopt a Territory Charter, defining the broad guidelines and strategies for the development and upgrading of the territory, and the operational programme in order to achieve this;
To work on the creation of operational conditions for a mid-term and long-term implementation of the regional development strategy, elaborated in the framework of the Pilot Project;
To establish inter-sector cooperation at all governmental levels (Bosnia and Herzegovina as national level, the Republika Srpska as regional level and the local communities) in partnership with NGOs and the local population.
Relevance of the project to the objectives and priorities of the county
The Local Development Pilot Project offers the Bosnian and Herzegovinian national institutions and local authorities the possibility to improve their practices in the development of rural areas with a strong cultural identity and economic potential, with a view to adapting their policies accordingly. Policies related to the preservation and rehabilitation of natural and cultural heritage can be adapted to European standards.
Responding to the national priorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Local Development Pilot Project addresses issues of direct concern to the public authorities, thus helping to amend existing policies as well as directly influencing the legislative and regulatory framework, making public service practice more effective, while reinforcing the role of the local population and civil society in the decision-making process.
The pilot project represents a challenge for the local development of the Donja Dolina – Bardača region as new models of development are experienced, based on the promotion of heritage as a key asset for local initiatives such as a more respectful cultural tourism. Long-term potential of the pilot territory can be found for the purpose of social, human and economic development, the safeguarding and promotion of natural and cultural heritage, the promotion of religious and ethnic diversity, the development of a civil society and the improvement of the standard of living in the territory. Decentralisation mechanisms such as local self-governance and interdisciplinary cooperation between the governmental and non-governmental sectors can be promoted.
Identification of perceived needs and constraints in the pilot region
The Donja Dolina – Bardača region describes the territory of the archaeological site of Donja Dolina in the municipality of Gradiška and of the natural park of Bardača in Srbac along the river bank of the Sava near to the Vrbas in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina, bordering to the north with the Republic of Croatia. Numerous streams flow through this plain, rich in different specific biological habitats. The fertile arable land is suitable for the cultivation of fruit.
By the end of the 20th century, the region had to face serious economic difficulties due to the breakout of the war and the transition to another socio-economic system. Many people are unemployed and no longer see any future in the pilot territory so they emigrate abroad or move to urban centres. The local population feels neglected and marginalised.
The Local Development Pilot Project tries to face these problems through an integrated approach. Traditional agricultural production, focusing on organic food, needs to be promoted, the natural eco systems, especially the wetlands of the Bardača natural park have to be preserved, the natural and cultural heritage needs to be considered by the population as an important resource for regional regeneration through for example tourism.
Partners and final beneficiaries
Governmental and non-governmental organisations, local authorities, regional development agencies, tourism organisations, experts with different backgrounds, small and medium-sized businesses and the local population;
International partners (Council of Europe);
National partners (Republika Srpska Government – Ministry of Education and Culture; Ministry of Trade and Tourism; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management; Ministry of Science and Technology); (Bosnia and Herzegovina – Directorate for European Integration at the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Commission to Preserve National Monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina);
Local partners (Municipalities of Gradiška and Srbac); non-governmental organisations; tourism organisations; local entrepreneurs;
Governmental and local institutions as final beneficiaries regarding the development of institutional capacity.
State of Progress
The Political Statement was signed in 2007, guaranteeing political support from the partners for the implementation of the Local Development Pilot Project in the Archaeological and Nature Park of Donja Dolina – Bardača;
The Steering Committee and the Project Implementation Unit as a public institution ‘Archaeological-natural park of Donja Dolina – Bardača‘ were established in 2008;
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in May 2009 by four Ministries of the Republika Srpska (the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Trade and Tourism, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management and the Ministry of Science and Technology); by the Directorate for European Integration at the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina; by the municipalities of Srbac and Gradiška and finally by the Council of Europe;
A Project Manager was appointed in May 2011 so that the local population could be mobilised through several Pilot Actions;
A list has been drawn up of all stakeholders, professional resources and initiatives implemented in the pilot territory.
A pre-diagnosis mission will be carried out by experts in order to investigate the issues to be taken into account regarding the implementation of the Local Development Pilot Project in the territory;
A Project Communication Strategy is going to be elaborated and implemented in the pilot territory;
A logo will be designed for better promotion of the Local Development Pilot Project;
Once significant results are achieved at local level, national partners can be mobilised again through discussions and negotiations, an Inter-ministerial Expert Group can be established in order to investigate how national and European priorities and challenges can be addressed through the implementation of the Local Development Pilot Project in this territory;
Discussions are currently being held with the Ministry of Civil Affairs in order to join the project as partner;
Pilot Actions are planned, targeting awareness-raising among the local population and national stakeholders;
Once the phase of the pre-diagnosis finalised, the diagnosis phase can be launched with the setting-up of thematic working groups.