5th Debate on Local Development held in Gradiška

Local Community Takes Initiative

Following Prnjavor, Derventa, Zvornik and Gračanica, the fifth debate on local development was held in Gradiška on 9 March. Head of EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark hosted the debate with local activists, officials and entrepreneurs, together with local and regional experts.

“I am very glad that we had an opportunity in Gradiška to visit the Most Association, which founded their own, now very popular BiH brand Funky Guerrilla, as they represent a great example of youth entrepreneurship”, Ambassador Wigemark said and added that this is an extraordinary example of good practice.

Debate participants, local businesspeople in heavy industry sector, pointed to the deficiency of qualified workforce while the youth, on the other hand, highlighted the lack of possibilities for gaining practical skills and experience during their regular education.

“Educational system reform, together with innovations in programmes and curricula, means stronger relations and cooperation between high schools, universities and the business community,” said educational expert Nina Branković, pointing to the importance of practical work during the process of creating a qualified workforce in accordance with real needs of the job market.

The participants also used the opportunity to discuss with local, regional and international experts other topics that can improve the business climate, attract investors and solve local infrastructure problems.

Ambassador Wigemark further visited the local successful fodder factory “Farmofit”.

Following the debate, participants had an opportunity to visit the informative-education fair organized by EU co-funded projects which are directly contributing to economic and sustainable development of local communities including Local Integrated Development (LID) funded by the EU and implemented by UNDP and EU ProLocal – the Programme for Local Self-Government and Economic Development in BiH funded by the EU and German Government, implemented by the GIZ.

Within the “Local Community Takes Initiative” project, the Office of the EU Special Representative is holding public debates about the challenges and opportunities of the EU integration process and supplementary programmes in 15 local communities across BiH.