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CEPPS in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Project 1)

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

CEPPS works with political parties and parliamentarians to improve their accountability and representativeness in BiH, to advance toward integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions and curb corruption. CEPPS also supports election authorities to promote reforms and advocate for genuine, credible electoral processes, in-line with international standards.

CEPPS Approach:

Provides technical assistance to reform-like minded parties, multi-party groups and issue-based caucuses, as they: develop inclusive policy platforms; develop inclusive messaging and conduct citizen outreach; analyze reform priorities, especially around corruption, and develop joint policies to make progress on issues of importance to BiH citizens.

Empowers young political party members with the policy knowledge and skills to rise within their organizations. 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.

Collaborates with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to conduct targeted assessments and provide key recommendations for reforms and procedural and regulatory changes to improve the electoral process. CEPPS also provides advice and guidance to the CEC in the preparation and administration of electoral activities.

CEPPS Key Achievements in BiH:

CEPPS facilitated collaboration across parties to make progress on reform goals and to address key citizen priorities:

  • CEPPS supported the efforts of nine multi-party groups to develop 12 multi-party policy proposals which addressed issues of shared concern, such as electoral reform, economic reform, judicial reform, and the environment.
  • CEPPS formed the State Parliament’s European Integration and Security Caucus (EISC), which brought increased attention to BiH’s challenges in handling flows of refugees through visits to migrant intake centers. At the height of the crisis, the EISC called an emergency session of parliament to present their conclusions and recommendations, which the state parliament adopted.  The EISC also received approved recommendations to change the Rules of Procedure of the State Parliament during COVID-19, allowing resumption of their work over virtual sessions.

CEPPS supported anti-corruption efforts and sought to improve the integrity of BiH’s political parties and institutions:

  • With CEPPS’s support, five parties adopted party codes of ethics to ensure internal accountability and transparency, prevent nepotism, and promote responsible financial oversight.
  • CEPPS led an Abuse of State Resources Assessment, the first of its kind in BiH, which sought to improve anti-corruption policymaking among and within political parties and provided recommendations to strengthen the legal framework.
  • Following its Assessment of Voter Registration in BiH, to ensure its integrity, CEPPS led a Data Integrity Test and an Information and Communication Technology Assessment, which produced a series of resources for the CEC to refer to in order to improve out-of-country voter registration, conduct public outreach on voter registration and remove deceased voters from the voters’ list.
  • In order to protect the elections in BiH from malign influence across the cyber environment, CEPPS conducted the Cybersecurity and Elections Assessment with the CEC to identify vulnerabilities in its cybersecurity infrastructure and recommend actions and measures to build a more robust approach to protect against cyber threats.

CEPPS successfully empowered BiH’s youth to rise within their political parties, advance their country’s Euro-Atlantic integration, and collaborate across party and ethnic lines.

  • The first class of young political party leaders participating in CEPPS’ Advanced Leadership in Politics Institute (ALPI) graduated, having completed a wide range of cross-party initiatives including podcasts, blogs and roundtables on important issues related to European integration, countering violent extremism and mitigating hate speech among others.
  • Utilizing these leadership skills, one young leader was named the Nasa Stranka party caucus secretary in the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH and another became the Sarajevo Canton Minister of Labor, Social Welfare, Displaced Persons, and Refugees.
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