Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s aspiration to enhance citizen participation and governance at all levels is supported by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in the framework of the project “Innovating democratic participation at local level in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, as part of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2022-2025.
The project responds to the needs voiced by relevant stakeholders and local authorities across the country, and it aims at boosting democratic innovation through deliberative processes and on enhancing the quality of local governance implemented in partnership with associations of local authorities in the country.
The project builds upon the results of the previous Congress intervention through the project “Building democratic participation in the City of Mostar”, within which the first Citizens’ Assembly in Bosnia and Herzegovina was organised.The use of deliberative methods as valuable complements to the representative democracy was promoted in the latest Congress Recommendation (2022): Beyond elections: the use of deliberative methods in European municipalities and regions.
Innovating democratic participation at local level in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The project “Innovating democratic participation at local level in Bosnia and Herzegovina” aims to enhance the quality of local democracy and create opportunities for citizens to engage in innovative participatory processes in Mostar and elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It promotes new democratic approaches, open government, public ethics, transparent and inclusive local policy making in the country.
The project is implemented by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe as part of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2022-2025, and in line with the principles enshrined in the European Charter for Local Self-Government (ETS No. 122) and its Additional Protocol on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority (CETS No.207).
- Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina enjoy enhanced local democracy and more transparent local public institutions
- Local authorities embed inclusive and innovative deliberative approaches to enhance decision-making
- Local elected representatives and public officials strengthen their capacities to engage in collaborative governance and co-creation with citizens and civil society organisations.
This project builds on the fruitful co-operation with the City of Mostar and the positive results of the first deliberative process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the form of a citizens’ assembly. Support will be provided for the implementation of the Action Plan adopted in response to the citizens’ recommendations, and to conduct a second citizens’ assembly. The best practices of deliberative democracy will be further promoted. Following a call for interest, another local authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina will benefit from project support to set up a tailored deliberative process.
Capacity development activities will be proposed to local authorities across the country with a view to enhancing the quality of local democracy and fostering collaborative governance and co-creation with citizens and civil society. These activities will be designed in close co-operation with the Associations of Municipalities and Cities from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and from Republika Srpska.
The Congress will also provide local and international expertise and support in the field of good governance and democracy, including academic support through the Group of Independent Experts to the Charter, for the development of practices and policies.
A peer-to-peer approach, including with the members of the Congress, will be used for exchanges and sharing of knowledge, know-how and practices across Europe. This support will be provided directly to local authorities and in close co-operation with the associations of local authorities.
Active participation of stakeholders at local level will be ensured, ranging from the general public to interest groups, NGOs, academia and local authorities.
- Mostar City Authorities implement the action plan approved by the City Council as a follow-up to the citizens’ recommendations stemming from the first deliberative process held in 2021
- A deliberative process is commissioned and organised under the leadership of the Mayor and City Council of Mostar
- The mayor, local councillors, and public officials from a selected local authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina develop further their capacities to implement an inclusive deliberative process
- A deliberative process is designed in one more local authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina and citizens formulate proposals to local decision-makers
- The two associations of municipalities and cities promote transparent, accountable, and participatory local governance through peer exchanges and advocacy
- Local authorities enhance their capacities on innovative practices for inclusive, transparent and participatory local governance.
Partners and beneficiaries
- Citizens of Mostar and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- The City of Mostar and authorities of the selected towns or cities in BiH
- Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Association of Municipalities and Cities of Republika Srpska
- Civil society and media.
A deliberative process in Mostar
Building on the success of the First Citizens’ Assembly, the City of Mostar is giving follow up on recommendations and preparing a second Citizens’ Assembly.
Consultation, advocacy and open government
The Platform of Exchange on open government aims to introduce innovative practices for transparent, collaborative, accountable and participatory open local governance. The two Associations of Municipalities and Cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 23 selected local authorities engage in tailored activities to further strengthen local democracy.
Promotion of democratic innovations
A local authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be selected to implement another deliberative process in Bosnia and Herzegovina following a specific tailored methodology.
By having an impact on democratic participation and public trust, the project "Innovating democratic participation at local level in Bosnia and Herzegovina” contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 5 (Gender equality), 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), 16 (Peace, justice and strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnership for the goals) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Period: February 2020 – December 2021
Partners: City administration of Mostar, representatives of local political parties and relevant public authorities at different level.