Cross-border projects to strengthen regional co-operation and social cohesion begin

Eight organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina are beginning implementation of projects to strengthen social cohesion and dialogue, within and between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia

Today  (12 June 2020), within the joint regional program "Dialogue for the Future" (DFF), marked the beginning of cooperation with eight organizations from BiH that will implement cross-border projects that will contribute to improving social cohesion and dialogue within and between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia.

Ingrid Macdonald, the UN Resident Coordinator in BiH, said: „We are honored that such innovative and engaging proposals came through our joint Dialogue for the Future initiative, under the auspices of the BiH Presidency and partners in Montenegro and Serbia. And I am very happy to have met the awarded BiH grantees today. We have seen in this Covid-era how important solidarity, mutual respect, understanding and diversity are for the society resilience to crisis, community trust and engagement, and the greater chance they give at prosperous recovery. We need to not only embrace these values, but share them, amplify them, support them. That is why it is invaluable that the activities presented today are linked across Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and are building upon joint strengths of each of the organizations and partners involved. I am already looking forward to joining the awarded actions and visiting the projects.“

During a public tender aimed at supporting projects that improve social cohesion and dialogue, 234 proposals from all three countries were submitted within and between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia. Out of a total of 19 projects from the region, eight will be implemented by organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina with partners from other countries.

Steliana Nedera, UNDP Resident Representative in BiH, said: „Today we marked the beginning of a partnership with eight BiH organizations to which we plan to provide almost 420,000 BAM of UN funding for eight joint projects throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro to improve social cohesion. BiH organizations contribute their own resources to this goal, but their creative energy, commitment and hard work to promote social cohesion and dialogue are equally important. We at the UN believe that a bright future is possible only if no one is neglected or forgotten. And this is even more important in challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic consequences. That is why these projects are important and special. These projects ensure that everyone's voices are heard and that citizens are empowered, whether we provide space and include young people with hearing and speech impairments, women with visual impairments, women from rural communities or engage and empower women and youth through various forms of civic engagement, the arts and culture. True dialogue and the future are based on this, the diversity of expression and reach, but unity in the vision, no one will be neglected or forgotten.”

Selected projects from all three countries will contribute to better social cohesion, strengthening the capacity of young people, better media and information literacy, improving dialogue and action for the common good, improving educational programs for social cohesion, improving gender equality, promoting cultural diversity and intercultural understanding and environmental protection.

Dr. Rowak Khan, UNICEF Representative in BiH said: „UNICEF supports young people in BiH to communicate with their peers in the region, Serbia and Montenegro and learn about interculturalism. Here in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we want to promote the empowerment of young people to realize their potential by acquiring 21st century skills and creating a better life for themselves and future generations. We hope that these young people will contribute to a tolerant and peaceful environment in their communities and across borders, in the region, through positive thinking.”

Siniša Šešum, Head of UNESCO office in Sarajevo said: „On this occasion, we would like to welcome our partners from three neighbouring countries and wish them success in the implementation of their projects. In the spirit of „Dialogue for the Future“, their creative initiatives promote cultural diversity and intercultural understanding, with an emphasis on cultural exchange and cross-border teamwork, expression of young artists through theatre, diverse education, while engaging communities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Serbia and Montenegro through intercultural dialogue. By researching natural and cultural heritage, different topics from the environment and scientific disciplines, education, through creativity and the arts, these initiatives are aimed at young people, workers in the cultural industry, with special emphasis to the empowerment of women. We look forward to our new partnerships, as well as all the inspiring ideas and challenges ahead. ”

The organizations in BiH will receive funding from the UN in the amount of nearly 420,000 BAM for the implementation of projects, and the total expected amount of co-financing by BiH organizations and partners is over 155,000 BAM.

List of BiH organizations whose projects have been approved under the DFF call:

1.    Museum of Modern Art of Republika Srpska in partnership with Art Gallery "Nadežda Petrović" from Čačak and National Museum of Montenegro, Cetinje are implementing the project "Territory of Culture"

2.    Centre for the Development of Youth Activism, in partnership with Open Centre "BONA FIDE", Pljevlja is implementing the project "Art of Democracy"

3.    East West Centar Sarajevo, in partnership with Novi Tvrđava Teatar Novi Sad, JU “City of Theater”, Budva are implementing the project “Theater as Dialogue, Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Understanding”

4.    Association of Citizens "Nevid Teatar" in partnership with Association of Drama Artists of Serbia is implementing the project "Education through play"

5.    Women's Association "Maja" Bratunac, in partnership with Women's Association "Priroda" Bratunac, Women's Association "Vila" Ljubovija, and NGO "Kisele Vode" Bijelo Polje are implementing the project "Cooperation and Culture for the Future"

6.    Public institution "Secondary Technical School" Tešanj ", in partnership with  Technical School, Čačak is implementing the project „Green Western Balkans -  Better Western Balkans"

7.    Public Institution Bosnian Cultural Centre of Canton Sarajevo in partnership with  Cultural and Information Centre "Budo Tomović" Podgorica is implementing the project "Voices of Peace"

8.    Association of Visually Impaired, Tuzla in partnership with the Municipal Association of Blind Persons Belgrade and the Union of the Blind of Montenegro are implementing the project "Strengthening blind women to combat violence, discrimination and gender inequality"

The joint regional program "Dialogue for the Future" is implemented by UNDP, UNICEF and UNESCO, with the support of the offices of the UN Resident Coordinators in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia, and with the financial support of the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).

Video presentation of the participants on the Facebook page Dialogue for the Future can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/Dijalogzabuducnost/

Media Contacts
UN entities involved in this initiative
UN PBSO
United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund