Results of the three year-long project ‘Support to Local Employment Partnerships in Bosnia and Herzegovina’ were presented in Sarajevo on Monday.
The project, worth a total of EUR four million, was funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
During the project, the ILO was observing the development of 19 local employment partnerships which contributed to development of the labor market in almost 30 local communities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The project is also important in terms of development of partnership between institutions and entrepreneurs, as well as those oriented towards self-employment.
Regional Director of the ILO Decent Work Technical Support team and Country Office for Central and Eastern Europe Markus Pilgrim explained that the concept of Local Employment Partnerships has been developed by the European Commission in the 1990s and adapted by the ILO to suit the needs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“I am very pleased with the project results and especially its competitive nature. We received 160 applications from municipalities and different stakeholders, out of which 19 were accepted and financed”, said Pilgrim.
Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU Special Representative in BiH, explained that the goal of this project was to improve Bosnia and Herzegovina’s business environment and economic competitiveness.
“This project is a follow up to what we have heard from local communities, and what I have personally heard by visiting some 40 municipalities in the last year and a half. There is a need for local initiatives to support employment and, through this project, 27 municipalities have been working together with 19 local employment partnerships to support employment”, said Wigemark.
“Through this project, more than 1,600 unemployed persons have been trained and over 550 have a new job. The local level is where much of the economy of this country lies and where jobs should therefore be created. This project has enabled us to match the real needs of the private sector, which has to grow and become much stronger for the country to move closer to the EU. Local ownership of the entire process has proven to be the key to project’s success”, he concluded.
Representatives of Local Employment Partnerships signed a Memorandum of Understanding during the project’s final conference, as a statement of their commitment to the continuation of cooperation and support to employment at the local level.