Bosnia and Herzegovina has benefited from the co-operation programmes of the Council of Europe since 2003. The Council of Europe Office in Sarajevo ensures the necessary co-ordination between headquarters and national stakeholders, as well with international partners present in the field.

The implementation of the two subsequent Action Plans (2015-2017 and 2018-2021) provided a more strategic approach to the overall co-operation between the Council of Europe and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The support provided has resulted in a number of positive achievements particularly in the area of penitentiary reforms and the management of violent and extremist prisoners, quality and inclusive education, strengthening local democracy, with a focus on building democratic participation in the City of Mostar and strengthening the judiciary. Building on the encouraging results achieved through this co-operation the Action Plan (2022-2025) was adopted in December 2021. The Action Plan is tailored to the findings of the most recent Council of Europe monitoring reports and reflects the country’s European integration agenda, as well as reform priorities enshrined in national strategic documents.

In continuity with the previous Action Plans, support targets the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Court of Human Rights’ case law at national level,  improving freedom of expression and media, human rights protection and anti-discrimination, support to judicial reform, the fight against corruption, money laundering and the financing of terrorism, management of violent and extremist prisoners, inter-ethnic dialogue and reconciliation and the inclusiveness of the electoral processes. The Council of Europe and the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina jointly identified new areas of co-operation such as ensuring the rights of vulnerable persons in the context of migration and asylum, the right to information, access to justice for women and prevention of violence against women etc.

The co-operation with Bosnia and Herzegovina was further supported through the European Union/Council of Europe Joint Programme Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey, a flagship instrument launched in May 2016, which assists the Beneficiaries’ authorities with meeting their reform agendas and with complying with the European standards. The second phase of the programme within which five actions are being implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is currently under way. These actions undertaken at the national level contribute to enhancing penitentiary reforms, promoting quality and inclusive education, improving the application of European standards in the field of freedom of expression and freedom of the media, countering discrimination and hate speech and preventing trafficking in human beings.

Bosnia and Herzegovina also plays an active role in the regional actions of the Horizontal Facility in the following areas: enhancing penitentiary capacities in addressing radicalisation in prisons, achieving quality and sustainability of justice through the Council of Europe flagship initiative based on CEPEJ methodology “Dashboard – Western Balkans”, human rights education for legal professionals (HELP). Similarly, the following topics are also tackled from a regional perspective: judicial training institutes, legal certainty, economic crime, promotion of diversity and equality and freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

Bosnia and Herzegovina also benefits from two European Union/Council of Europe regional Joint Programmes implemented in South East Europe. The capacity of the authorities to search, seize and confiscate cybercrime proceeds, prevent money laundering on the Internet and secure internet evidence is further reinforced through the second phase of the regional programme iPROCEEDS 2, while support in promoting good governance and Roma empowerment at a local level is streamlined through the second phase of the ROMACTED regional programme.

Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals


Through the actions implemented in 2021, the Council of Europe Action Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2018-2021 contributed to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably SDG 3 (target 4), SDG 4 (targets 1 and 7), SDG 5 (targets 2, b and c), SDG 8 (target 7), SDG 10 (target 3) and SDG 16 (targets 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, a and b). 

More information: Overview of the Council of Europe Contribution to the UN 2030 Agenda.