Charting a transformative path for local governance in Bosnia and Herzegovina

February 7, 2024

Local Community of Donja Lohinja


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supported an important dialogue that took place in Banja Luka, bringing together around 60 different stakeholders to address the development issues faced by local governments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Participants included representatives from local governments and their associations, entity and cantonal ministries, international development organisations, as well as civil   society organisations, the academic community, and others.

The dialogue is the first in a series spanning from January to March 2024, that aims to serve as a platform for a comprehensive assessment of the challenges and mapping of areas where interventions will bring about systemic change in line with the country's strategic framework and policies.


Senka Jujić, Minister of the Ministry of Administration and Local Self-Government of Republika Srpska. Photo Credit: UNDP BiH



Senka Jujić, Minister of the Ministry of Administration and Local Self-Government of Republika Srpska stated:

“Local government is the level of government closest to citizens and one of the fundamental pillars of development. Citizens exercise most of their rights in local governments, and local authorities play an important role in ensuring the quality of life for citizens in their territory.”

The dialogue builds on the analysis conducted by relevant institutional representatives and development partners active in the area of local governance in April 2023 which identified structural challenges and development opportunities for local governments in the country. These challenges and opportunities were categorised into seven areas where interventions can lead to positive change. These include public financial management, public services and infrastructure, integrity and accountability, sustainable strategic orientation and resilience, meritocracy and professionalism, citizen participation and empowerment, and reforms and policies for decentralisation and autonomy.

Aida Laković Hošo, Head of the Good Governance Sector at UNDP. Photo credit: UNDP BiH


Aida Laković Hošo, Head of the Good Governance Sector at UNDP,  highlighted: 

 "Local governance serves as the bedrock of community  development, bringing government closer to its citizens.  UNDP recognizes the pivotal role played by local  authorities in fostering inclusive and prosperous  communities.”

The discussion addressed the current state of local governance and its challenges, contributed to the vision of the local governance system and identified the drivers for change. During the event, participants emphasised the importance of putting people’s lives at the centre, digitalisation in public service delivery, transparency and accountability of public institutions as well as citizen participation in decision-making as key areas for improvement.

The event in Banja Luka underlined the importance of joint efforts and innovative solutions in tackling complex development challenges.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNDP supports local governance to improve the quality of life of people in urban and rural areas, reduce inequalities in society, rebuild trust between people and public institutions, and provide a platform for the voices of all groups of population.