Bosnia and Herzegovina’s aspiration to enhance 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 “Building democratic participation in the City of Mostar”, as part of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2018-2021. Following a decade of deprivation of Mostar citizens’ fundamental human right to elect and stand for local elections, the aim of the project is to create opportunities for citizens to engage in deliberative processes and participate in local decision making, with the ultimate goal of restoring citizen’s confidence and trust in public authorities. A tailored methodology of deliberative democracy through mini-publics will provide opportunities for dialogue among the citizens of Mostar, and with the local decision-makers. The project also seeks to develop the skills and knowledge of local stakeholders on democratic approaches.
The project is rooted in the work of the Reflection Group on Mostar, established in 2017 with the goal to propose a sustainable solution for restoring democracy in the City, and follows on the Recommendation 442 (2019) on local and regional democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Baralija v. Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project builds upon the results of Congress co-operation activities carried out in Council of Europe member states since 2011 and is based on the needs and recommendations voiced by relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries.
The project “Building democratic participation in the City of Mostar” aims to create opportunities for citizens to engage in a deliberative process and participate in local decision making, with the ultimate goal of revitalising citizens’ confidence and trust in public authorities.
The project is implemented by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities as part of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2018-2021, 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).
- Local authorities, citizens and civil society organisations are equipped with new deliberation tools and mechanisms
- Local stakeholders improve their skills and knowledge about democratic approaches
- Local decision-makers create favourable conditions for enhanced citizen engagement
A tailored methodology for Mostar will be used to allow citizens to deliberate on topics of interest and make proposals for local politicians to create more responsive and accountable policies. Deliberation is a more advanced practice of citizen participation being used in many communities where local, regional or national authorities want to include representative groups of citizens in decision making.
The deliberative process consists of four main phases: selection of citizens, learning and capacity building consultation and deliberation. During each phase, a comprehensive participation of different stakeholders is ensured, ranging from the general public to interest groups, NGOs and local political parties. This leads to more rounded and informed public opinion and arguably better decisions. Ultimately, it leads to increased trust towards local authorities.
The support includes expert support and guidance, as well as capacity development activities for local decision-makers, politicians and other relevant stakeholders.
- Citizens implement a tailored deliberative process in the City of Mostar;
- Citizens formulate proposals for local decision-makers;
- Local stakeholders develop their capacities to implement democratic approaches based on citizen deliberation;
- Local stakeholders debate lessons-learned to identify the best applicable models of citizen participation;
- Local stakeholders improve their knowledge of European standards of local democracy, electoral systems, open government, public ethics and strategic planning at local level.
- Piloting a tailored methodology for citizen deliberations in the City of Mostar
- Capacity development activities and workshops
Partners and Beneficiaries
- Citizens of Mostar
- City administration of Mostar
- Representatives of local political parties
- Relevant public authorities at different levels
- Civil society and media
By having an impact on democratic participation and public trust, the project "Building democratic participation in the City of Mostar” 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.