Discussions on the draft UN Cooperation Framework for Bosnia and Herzegovina reflect joint responsibility in helping enable prosperity for the people in BiH.

Mutual accountability. Agenda 2030 Framework. Interconnectedness of approach. Ambition. The four pillars of proposed “reset” in the broadening work of the United Nations (UN) in Bosnia and Herzegovina echoed strongly across three days of conversations with partners. Representatives of authorities from different levels of BiH governance, civil society, academia, and international community shared their views on proposed areas of UN’s engagement in the following five years. Importantly, they shared their perceptions on the role and relevance of the UN to work with the BiH partners on the presented themes.

The major UN reform, through which the system went in 2018-19, affected all pillars of the organization. In the development pillar and across the work of each UN agency and entity, the reform internally enabled a more coherent and unified approach to work. It seems to be easier said than done, but the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework - the one around which partners gathered in Sarajevo last week – proves to be the key tool in achieving precisely that.  A more coherent approach to work internally and externally, and within a wider cooperation network. And one which is based on the recognition that UN’s presence in BiH carries a mutual responsibility in the work together.

In the past few years, the UN in BiH took on board sectoral assessments, studies, citizen’s priorities through various channels and initiatives. At the heart of it is the partnership on Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The conducted SDGs consultations (2017-19) unite and inter-connect the identified areas for attention. All the voices and analysis pointed out to four cross-cutting priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, defined as:

  • Sustainable, resilient and inclusive growth
  • Quality, accessible and inclusive education, health and social protection
  • People - centered governance and rule of law
  • Citizen engagement, social dialogue and interaction

Reaching any one of these outcomes requires simultaneous effort around any other. Or in simple math: one cannot be achieved without another.

More than ever, it requires sincere dialogue with all partners, and a continuous dialogue in order to keep the Coordination Framework a “living document” – adjustable, flexible, and open.  With a move away from conventional to non-traditional partnerships, it calls for new mechanisms which will enable genuine relationships.

Hearing concerns and priorities of citizens in BiH is an integral part of such relationships. Building cooperation across different formal and informal sectors to address those priorities is where the UN in BiH hopes to contribute the most.  

Reflections and suggestions heard at the validation sessions this week will be considered during finalization of the 2012 – 25 Cooperation Framework, for the official presentation to the BiH authorities planned by March 2020.

With the reminder that the Coordination Framework stands as a joint commitment to the people in the country, to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and to call for the accountability and responsibility in leaving no one behind in the process.

Written by
Dalila Sadinlija
Communication and Advocacy Officer
Resident Coordinator Office
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labor Organization
International Organization for Migration
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
United Nations Volunteers
World Health Organization