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Strengthening Local Government in Bosnia and Herzegovina

To strengthen the relationship between citizens and local governments, the Governance Accountability Project, in its second phase, improved the ability of municipal governments to provide better services and more effectively manage their resources.

​Chemonics worked with elected local officials, municipal associations, and civil society to increase transparency and build decision-making capacity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. To that end, the Governance Accountability Project, in its second iteration, improved the transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s governance structures. The project represented a unique partnership among USAID, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

At the local level, the project provided municipalities with tools and resources to better serve their citizens and build stronger communities by establishing modern citizen service centers and urban permitting centers. These convenient one-stop shops have improved municipal financial management and contributed to the efficiency and transparency of the budgeting process, while dramatically reducing waiting times for citizens to access government services.
 
Through a separate but complementary initiative funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the project’s Capital Improvement Planning program brought government, citizens, and businesses together to assess community needs, develop action plans, and take steps to improve the infrastructure and prospects for local economic development in their communities. One improvement due to the Capital Improvement Planning program has been cleaner water systems, which has led to improved health among the young and older residents.
 
Other projects have included rehabilitation of public parks, new street lighting, repairing sidewalks, streets, or flood embankments, and other infrastructural improvements that affect the daily lives of thousands of residents. The project has leveraged buy-in from partner municipalities to multiply the impact of the program.
 
At the national level, the project worked on creation of a sustainable reform environment, one that helped local government officials, experts, and the academic community create a comprehensive vision for reform, assist governments and parliaments in transforming this vision into legislation, and build strong municipal associations capable of formulating and advocating for the interests and needs of cities and municipalities to provide the best services to citizens.
 
Project Results:
  • During the five-year project, GAP2 directly assisted 72 municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • In all 72 partner municipalities, public input was institutionalized in the municipal action and strategic planning processes for improvements in service delivery and municipal management. About 7,000 citizens and almost 600 municipal action planning team members were directly involved in public consultations leading to the adoption of the first three-year plans.
  • 31 Citizens’ Service Centers were established during GAP2, affecting the lives of 2.3 million people across the country through their daily interaction with local government.
  • National and entity laws and bylaws drafted to strengthen the position and role of local self-governance.
  • 131 capital improvement projects completed, with the beneficiary municipalities contributing about $12 million of their own financing.
  • The combined effect of GAP2’s work with legacy and new partner municipalities over the past five years is evident in more efficient municipal administrative services and citizens’ increased satisfaction with the provision of these services. Municipal staff are — and believe they are — providing better services, and citizens believe service provision has improved.
Project Links:

Project Duration: 2007 - 2012

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