Active Labour Market Measures to combat unemployment rate in BiH

The conference entitled „Challenges and opportunities on the BiH labour market” took place on July 14th at the Delegation of the European Union to BiH. It gathered representatives of the EU Delegation to BiH, the state and entity institutions for labour and social policy, relevant ministries in governments of BiH, FBiH and RS, as well as wide range of stakeholders. The event organised by the EU financed project „Improving Active Labour Market in BiH” (IALM), provided a platform for exchange of information about the project activities, conclusions and views.

„Unemployment rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina is increasing. According to the data obtained from the Agency for Statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina the unemployment rate has increased from 493 188 in 2009 to  515 966 in 2010 and in April 2011 the unemployment was 529 446. Although the governments provide significant resources to reduce the unemployment rate and impact of the global recession in Bosnia and Herzegovina, most of these resources, intended to assist unemployed people, are passive labour market measures.

These figures are clear signal that we all have to give our contribution to reducing the unemployment rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina. ” said Natalia Dianiskova, Head of the Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross-Border Cooperation at the EU Delegation to BiH, summarising status of labour market in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the conference. 

Conference participants were presented by steps that Bosnia and Herzegovina has initiated in order to start labour market reforms. One of the main priorities of the Mid Term Development Strategy of Bosnia and Herzegovina is to increase employment and strengthen connections between human resources and the labour market. „Current socio-economic situation in the country requires financial support to combat high unemployment. High unemployment rates and a dominating informal economy create obstacles to social and economic recovery” noted Dianiskova.

Conference speakers mainly referred to key areas of current labour market in BiH:  importance and improvements of effective active employment policies, needs for changes in current system and reforms, lessons learned from the past and other countries’ experiences and life learning practice. Miroslav Jurešić, Advisor to Minister of Labour and Social Policy in FBiH Government emphasised importance of establishing the effective active employment policies while Čedo Kovačević, Assistant Minister of labour and veteran-invalid protection in RS Government presented new approaches and attitudes in employment practice in RS. In her speech on „Achievements and recommendation of project” Slavica Vučić, from BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs recognised that the IALM project has acomplished projected goals.

Jennifer Diamond, IALM Project Manager, presented the findings and recommendations of the IALM team of experts in cooperation with the authorities in FBiH, RS and Brćko District. These are: removing the administration of health insurance and other non-employment-related benefits from the PESs (Public Employment Service)  separating active from passive registrants at Bureau, improving relationships with employers, providing more pro-active support to job seekers are the main recommendations.

The EU provide € 1,2 million for the project Improving Active Labour Market in Bosnia and Herzegovina, created to contribute to the reduction of unemployment, the improvement of the quality of employment and  to support social cohesion.