EU awards 3 million euros in grants for local economic development and employment in BiH

EU Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark at the event; Photo: EU Delegation to BiH

SARAJEVO – Award of grant certificates under the EU funded project “Support to Local Employment Partnerships in Bosnia and Herzegovina” (LEP) was held on 27 March 2017 at the EU Delegation premises.  The grants worth EUR 3 million have been awarded to 15 newly established local employment partnerships that will over the next two years be responsible for increasing employability through vocational training of some 2,000 people in 22 municipalities and creation of at least 620 new jobs, and labour market reform in their communities.

Speaking about the EU support in creating new jobs and better living conditions for BiH citizens, Ambassador Wigemark underlined the connection between the economic development and political stability.

“The EU has been continuously supporting economic development and employment in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a view to increasing standard of living and well-being of all its citizens and the Local Employment Partnerships project is an integral part of that support. The activities of the selected projects we are awarding today will also contribute to the goals of the Reform Agenda to improve business environment and economic competitiveness. Activities included focus on agricultural development, processing of metal, wood, textile and leather, lifelong learning and entrepreneurship development, information technologies, and tourism. As these sectors are export-oriented and are expanding they can represent a great potential for further economic development and consequently increasing of employment,” said Ambassador Wigemark.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is implementing the project and will be mentoring and supporting local partnerships throughout the project. It will provide them with its expertise in reforming labour markets and eight-staged technical assistance in creating sustainable and partnership driven local employment frameworks and the implementation of active labour market measures.

“Local employment partnerships as a successful concept started being implemented in the EU already in 1997. Its application in Bosnia and Herzegovina will help local actors to effectively use local resources, guide local employment and to ensure that as many people as possible gain access to decent jobs and decent work conditions. Sustainable local partnerships are key to achieving high employability and employment and 15 partnerships we are supporting now will be able to continue their activities also beyond this project’s implementation,” said Antonio Graziosi, Director of ILO’s Decent Work Team and Budapest Country Office for Central and Eastern Europe.

List of 15 local employment partnerships and overview of geographic locations and industries they will be active in can be found HERE.

The European Union provided EUR 4 million for the LEP project, which is implemented by the ILO. The project is part of the EUR 19 million worth EU Programme for Local Development and Employment implemented by UNDP, GIZ and ILO.