The target of Sweden’s co-operation project in Bosnia is to combat poverty and to support the country in its move towards joining the EU. In most projects and programmes, we are co-operating with other donors from countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, Germany and Austria, or with international organizations such as the EU, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Part of our support is focused on building up the overall public administration through supporting Public Administration Reform, which aims to increase efficiency, transparency and democracy.
Support for a more effective legal system
Sweden’s support of the legal sector has increased considerably in the last two years. We are working together with the state court, which is responsible for judging war crimes, organized and financial crimes and corruption. We will also be giving subsidies for building a state prison, where those who have been convicted can be placed securely.
Computerizing the administration in all of the country’s courts is increasing the efficiency of the legal system. Support is also planned for the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP), which handles the identification of human remains after the mass murders in Srebrenica as well as other war crimes.
Developments at municipal level
We are financing the Governance Accountability Project (GAP) together with the Netherlands and the United States. This is a programme aimed at building competence and capacity in Bosnia’s municipalities so that they can serve their citizens more effectively and have better control of their budgets and organization. Half of the country’s municipalities are participating in GAP, which is a project that will continue for several years. In many cases, support for development at this level has shown very good results.
Many organizations contributing for greater democracy
In a country that lacks strong democratic traditions such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is important to support the development of the civil society. Strong popular movements can demand transparency in public administration, participate in decision making at different levels and demand responsibility from politicians and civil servants. Within the frameworks of the civil society, vulnerable and discriminated groups can also organize themselves and demand their rights. We are therefore co-operating with the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, the Olof Palme International Center and Forum Syd in the work to build a democratic culture with strong independent organizations. Support is also given to anti-corruption work at the Centre for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo.
Economic growth for long-term development
Microcredit is not something purely associated with its modern pioneer, Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, we have also been contributing to the construction of organizations that work with microcredit. Increasing employment and improving the conditions for growth for small and medium-sized enterprises is important. We are therefore working with the country’s Regional Development Agencies. In late 2009, Sida and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will begin two major projects aimed at enterprise development and increasing employment.
Reconstruction and the return of displaced people
Our largest project area in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been supporting the reconstruction of housing for displaced people returning home. Since 1995, Sweden has invested SEK 1.5 billion, which has resulted in 16,400 houses being rebuilt and 71,000 displaced people being able to return home. To contribute to reasonable living conditions, we have also supported the reconstruction of some infrastructure. This programme ended at the beginning of 2008.