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CEPPS in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Project 2)

CEPPS has been working in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) since 2001 to help the country pursue reforms needed to advance its democratic development, improve socio-economic conditions, and reach the benchmarks necessary for European Union (EU) membership.
CEPPS Overarching Goals:

CEPPS works to enhance political pluralism in Bosnia and Herzegovina by (1) strengthening parties, coalitions, and candidates’ capacity to respond to citizen interests; (2) improving governance through policy-driven technical assistance to parties, coalitions, caucus formations, and elected officials at various levels of government; (3) enhancing skills and capacity of young political actors to take a more visible role in deepening democratic values of BiH society and (4) supporting election authorities to promote genuine, credible and informed electoral processes through assistance in anti-corruption in elections, combatting electoral disinformation and improving cybersecurity of relevant institutions. 

CEPPS Approach:

As part of its Supporting Political Pluralism and Good Governance Processes, CEPPS:  

  • strengthens the capacities of candidates, coalitions, political parties, multi-party groups and issue-based caucuses by supporting them in their efforts to coordinate on shared policy goals, engage in inclusive, responsive policy development, and conduct outreach to citizens. 
  • empowers young political party members with the policy knowledge and skills to rise within their political parties. CEPPS brings together youth from across party and ethnic lines to address common political challenges, bridging traditional political divides and fostering increased inter-party and inter-ethnic collaboration. 
  • provides assistance to the Central Election Commission (CEC) and other electoral stakeholders through technical advice and targeted trainings centered on improving regulations in political finance and abuse of state resources, addressing electoral disinformation and hate speech and building capacity in cybersecurity skills and implementing cybersecurity measures in daily practices. 

CEPPS Key Achievements in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

CEPPS advances candidate, party, and civil sector engagement opportunities: 

  • Thirty party representatives participated in a training of trainers (ToT) to learn the fundamentals of BiH electoral law and campaigning in preparation for elections.  
  • Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, CEPPS developed virtual resources for candidates planning to run in the local elections covering a variety of topics ranging from social media, online campaigns, and developing a brand.  
  • CEPPS established a cross-parliamentary youth caucus with MPs from entity and cantonallevel parliaments to begin making progress on issues of importance to youth, such as high rates of unemployment and emigration. 

CEPPS expands its support to Parliament and facilitates policy responses to the public health crisis   

  • CEPPS expanded its previously established Parliamentary Expert Support Initiative (PESI), adding four new political party professionals. PESI includes individuals nominated by parties and MPs to work on cross-party initiatives and provide expert support to the European Integration and Security caucus and other multi-party groups. 
  • PESI working groups developed policy recommendations related to human rights violations in BiH during the COVID-19 pandemic and proposed economic measures to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic. 
  • CEPPS facilitated several external virtual events in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a meeting for the European Integration and Security Caucus with US Ambassador to BiH Eric Nelson and a webinar with Perspektiva.plus on the impact of the education system on society. 

CEPPS strengthens election administration during the public health crisis: 

  • In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEPPS has retooled its cybersecurity support to the CEC for remote implementation in order to build skills in cyber-hygiene and improve cybersecurity procedures. 
  • The CEC accepted all of CEPPS feedback on its revised poll worker instructions for administering local elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is based on international good practices in safeguarding elections during a public health emergency. 
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