Strengthening the capacity of the BiH Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office

A final conference of the Project “Strengthening the capacity of the BiH Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office” was held in Sarajevo on 18 November 2011. The project was funded by the European Union through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in the amount of 1,845,400 Euros.

Project sought to strengthen the BiH Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office (PARCO) through providing expert advice on implementing the Public Administration Reform (PAR) Strategy and on developing strategic documents and revised action plans for further implementation.

Project results were presented at the conference, along with an overview of the progress that has been achieved by the PARCO in implementing the Strategy. This is one of the key elements in the EU accession process.

Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to BiH Renzo Daviddi said in his opening remarks that improved management in the state administration must be  a central  objective for BiH – not simply to meet EU accession requirements, but in order to boost the economy and create more jobs.

“The quality of public administration is important in the EU accession process,” Daviddi said. “Good governance is one parameter for the formal opening of negotiations that will set the conditions for all the sectoral negotiations, and this is also the main area of focus of accession negotiations. Public administration is also an area where public confidence is crucial because it is the place where the interests of the state and the interests of citizens converge.”

He said the complex bureaucracy in BiH and the slow pace of economic development increase the need for effective public administration reform.

The State Coordinator for Public Administration Reform, Semiha Borovac, said the political authorities had expressed a willingness to make public administration more efficient, open and transparent.

“In 2006 the government adopted the Strategy for Public Administration Reform and Action Plan 1 for its implementation,” Borovac said. “This involves providing recommendations, and defining measures and activities to improve public administration in different segments such as public finances, communication with citizens, and developing information technology and better human-resources management.”

Deputy Chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers Sadik Ahmetović emphasised the importance of public administration as one of the key priorities of the European Partnership and as a precondition for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration process. The reform will also be important in bringing BiH legislation into line with the European acquis.

“The reformed public administration needs to serve the best interests of citizens and at the same time contribute to the country’s development and prosperity,“ Ahmetović said. “Over the past period the BiH Council of Ministers, the Entity governments and the Brčko District Government have adopted a series of documents that place public administration reform firmly on the list of political priorities.“

Federation Prime Minister Nermin Nikšić expressed his gratitude to the European Commission for the support it has given to BiH through this and other projects. Nikšić said that State Coordinator Borovac has his full support and he emphasised the importance of changing popular perceptions of public administration.

Brčko District Public Administration Reform Coordinator Brano Jovičić said that the project had helped Brčko District to get completely reorganised public administration.  The public administration used to be completely centralised since signing of Brčko Arbitration decision.

“I think that this project has triggered a process of change in perception among our civil servants,” said RS Minister for Administration and Local Self Government Lejla Rešić.

“The Law on Public Service and the appendix to the Law will facilitate the education of civil servants and a heightening of the level of their awareness. One important thing worth of mentioning is the introduction of an electronic database of birth registers that will start at the beginning of next year.”