Dialogue for the future

Promoting social cohesion and diversity in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Dialogue for the Future
UNICEF/Djemidzic

Challenge

Peace in Bosnia is a fragile concept.

The social fabric within and between communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina remain fragile, not allowing for a durable peace and reconciliation, to settle across the region.  An on-going narrative and rhetoric of division, mistrust and fear perpetuated by divided politics and media contribute to low levels of inter-group trust; weak people-to-people cooperation and interrupted,  fractured or even negative dialogue.  Bosnia and Herzegovina lacks sufficient, structurally embedded, opportunities for cooperation, especially among the youth; there is an overall lack of skills and attitudes that allow for the appreciation of diversity and understanding of others; there is a wide-spread lack of trust toward official structures, institutions and leaders.  Trust-building and regional cooperation narratives are seldomly used in any official political platforms, even at the highest levels. 

This environment particularly affects the sentiments of young people who (unlike their parents) lack the experience of living in a period of peace progression, stability and tolerance.  They have little exposure to positive interaction, dialogue and collaboration with people of different backgrounds.  Increasingly, young people opt to migrate out of the country rather than remain and work to build a better future communities.

Solution

The ‘Dialogue Platforms’ is a mechanism to provide a formal space for interaction between citizens and decision-makers combines top-down and bottom-up approaches, enabling civil society, citizens and government partners to jointly identify, promote and implement dialogue and trust building activities.

Youth will be supported to lead dialogues on issues particularly affecting youth and to engage on issues, such as the SDGs, education, culture and brain drain. Youth will be supported to lead dialogues, on issues particularly affecting them,  through dialogue platforms with BiH Presidency.  

To enhance the inclusiveness of local level governance joint assessments of common problems will be undertaken and local dialogue platforms created. The platforms will bring together local leaders as well as civil society, youth, religious leaders, women’s organizations and relevant local level authorities. These dialogue platforms will be established as genuine bases for collaboration among diverse stakeholders and empower them with collaborative leadership and peacebuilding skills. The aim for the joint problem analysis, and the dialogue platforms will be to encourage communities discuss (common) challenges and   common solutions to these problems through collaboration.

Small grants will be allocated through a public call for project proposals, supporting activities and initiatives that improve social cohesion.

Media will be targeted to capitalize on their potential for social cohesion rhetoric. The project partners will initiate a process of engaging media in a dialogue on peacebuilding and the role of media in rational and impartial reporting. Finally, the project will aim for the media outlets and journalists to sign a pact for promoting peace through their reporting.