Fight against corruption to remain a priority for BiH on the EU path, Sarajevo conference concludes

The BiH Agency for prevention of corruption and coordination of the fight against corruption (APIK) and EU-funded project hosted the conference “Opportunities and challenges in the fight against corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina” in Sarajevo on 18 January 2016. Apart from presenting project’s achievements, the conference was an opportunity to discuss further development of anti-corruption policy and procedures in BiH, as well as the preparation and implementation of strategic anti-corruption documents at all levels of government.

“The effective fight against corruption is a pre-condition for a stable, prosperous and sustainable development of the country. It can be effective only if good anti-corruption policies are developed and put into place,” said Richard Wood, Head of the Rule of Law Section at the Office of the EU Special Representative. “This requires dedicated structures, strategies and action plans in line with the respective competencies and the political will of those responsible to deliver,” Wood said.

He also noted the shortcomings in the area of the fight against corruption. “Almost six years after the adoption of the law creating the Anticorruption Agency and the obligation for cantons, entities, state and Brcko District to identify prevention structures and adopt policy documents, the record of achievement remains poor. In short, concrete measures for the benefit of the citizens are still missing,’’ Wood concluded.

The conference was attended by government representatives of all BiH levels, representatives of the donor community, civil society and the media.

Denis Zvizdić, Chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers, stressed that the fight against corruption is primarily the task of local institutions that need to show determination to combat this issue.

“In the Reform Agenda for BiH, which was adopted at all levels of government, we have announced the establishment of effective structures for the prevention and control of corruption in accordance with relevant international standards and with respect for the constitutional competencies in BiH,” Zvizdić added.

Sead Lisak, Director of APIK pointed out the long term goals of the Agency. “In the long run, the Agency is aiming to reduce the opportunities for corruption, and to achieve results that will be visible and contribute towards diminishing the level of corruption,” Lisak stated.

Aleksandra Pandurević, President of the Commission for election and monitoring of the work of APIK, emphasised that corruption in the country is not only detrimental to the existing economy, but also prevents direct foreign investments and creation of jobs.

Among others, the EU-funded project contributed to:

– Preparation of the Strategy for the fight against corruption of BiH 2015 – 2019 and the Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy;

– Improvement of the cooperation between anti-corruption institutions and Civil Society Organisations;

– Establishment of anti-corruption bodies in Brcko District and cantons;

– Preparation of strategic anti-corruption documents in FBiH, Brcko District and cantons, and

– Improvement of cooperation and cooperation among anticorruption bodies at all levels in BiH.

Worth 444,480.00 Eur, the project “Strengthening anti-corruption capacities and Civil Society Organisations networks in that area’’ is one in a line of EU-funded projects that have supported the Anti-corruption Agency and anticorruption activities in BiH since 2008. It will be followed up by projects that will continue to support this institution and capacity building as well as the implementation of concrete measures in the fight against corruption. In the last two years, the project was implemented by a consortium led by the European Consulting Group.