Parliamentary Strengthening Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2009 - 2013)
Through this USAID-funded project, SUNY/CID strengthened the capacity of the state-level parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina through technical assistance in legislative drafting and policy analysis, inter-parliamentary cooperation, consultation with civil society and constituent outreach, deliberative skills, and oversight.
Mentoring and providing on-the-job coaching to the staff of both the State and the Federation of BiH entity parliaments were an ongoing project activity aimed at:
- Strengthening staff skills to conduct applied research and present policy-relevant background information to MPs and committees. Through these activities, the project sought to strengthen the review, drafting, and research skills of the state-level parliament's Legislative and Legal Department and its Research Sector so that these bodies can prepare highly-readable and focused narrative reports/justifications to support legislation or policy interventions.
- The project also assisted staff to prepare MPs for committee meetings with legislative dossiers on issues.
- Short-term technical experts supported this work in response to particular committee agendas; the Legislative Expert provided mentoring and on-the-job coaching for key staff of the Federation of BiH Parliament on a demand-driven basis.
Project efforts in the area of inter-parliamentary cooperation (between the state-level and parliament and entity parliaments) focused on fostering the "reform space" necessary for improving inter-parliamentary coordination. This goal was targeted through the following activities:
- Shared training and parliamentary speakers' series that supported the understanding that coordination is necessary to achieve compliance with international obligations and to bring solid commercial and diplomatic advantages.
- The ability of parliaments to improve coordination was supported by improving the state-level parliament's legislative tracking systems and by identifying opportunities for information-sharing and technology transfer (e.g., sharing information resources, databases) to the FBiH Parliament.
In the area of civil society and constituent outreach, the project carried out three main types of activities:
- Experiential learning activities that sought to build acceptance for dialogue by bringing together experts, CSOs, constituents, and MPs/committees/caucuses
- Activities that developed the legislatures' abilities and authorities to conduct outreach and consultation, by supporting IT enhancements, communications products, and a CSO/Expert guide
- Mentoring and training on specific skills to enhance communication and consultation