Home News Edward Ferguson: What is the UK Doing in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Edward Ferguson: What is the UK Doing in Bosnia and Herzegovina?


UK Ambassador to BiH Edward Ferguson has written another blog on Bosnia and Herzegovina, this time focusing on the UK’s involvement in this Balkan country.

We bring you the blog in its entirety.

When I arrived in Mostar in July for the in-country stage of my language training, almost the first new phrase I learned was ‘teorija zavjere’, or ‘conspiracy theory’. Rather to my bemusement, my teacher showed me a TV programme about a US system called HAARP which, apparently, was not only responsible for the floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but for natural disasters from Haiti to Japan. As we say in the UK, never let the truth get in the way of a good story!

Since I’ve taken up my post as UK Ambassador, I’ve already encountered a number of conspiracy theories about our role here, some of them entertained by people at the highest levels of government. In recent weeks, we have been credited with plotting to restore the Ottoman Empire, masterminding the burning of government buildings in the February riots, and using British troops to influence people’s votes in the General Election.

Of course, it’s all total nonsense. I don’t think anyone really believes it. If we could achieve all that with the 30 people working in the British Embassy, then we should all be in line for a raise! But it got me thinking. We talk a lot about the importance of increased transparency. So I have decided, for the first time, to publish the British Embassy’s objectives. These objectives reflect the UK’s interests in Bosnia and Herzegovina and they guide and shape all our activities in support of them. They are the basis on which our performance and progress is measured, and against which funding is allocated.

The objectives break down into two kinds, as follows:

Four Year Strategic Goals: 2014/15 – 2017/18

– Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) secures EU candidate status.
– BiH is stable, with more functional and accountable Government, lower risk of collapse/conflict, and less need for international support.
– The Rule of Law is more entrenched. Judicial institutions function effectively. Serious efforts begin to tackle corruption.
– BiH’s NATO Membership Action Plan is activated. BiH Armed Forces continue to develop and to contribute to international peacekeeping operations.
– Better business climate in BiH. More transparent Government decision-making. Increased opportunities for UK companies.

Outcomes for 2014/15

– Free and fair elections in 2014, with socio-economic issues and the EU path at the centre of the campaign. New State Government rapidly formed.
– EU Coordination Mechanism agreed. Coordinated BiH approach to EU pre-accession (IPA) funding and relevant sub committees.
– Support EU’s new economic agenda, including the Compact for Growth and Jobs, working with IFIs to press for progress.
– Embassy projects establish mechanisms and develop operational capacity to increase the efficency and public confidence in the judical system.strengthen the independence and management of State judicial institutions. War crimes project leverages – EU funding to increase the number of cases processed.
– Continued project and lobbying support for preventing conflict-related sexual violence (PSVI) initiative, with the successful roll out of the PSVI Protocol and ongoing work with the judiciary, police, military, NGOs and institutions to enable BiH ownership of the policy.
– Support development of civil society, empowering citizens, especially in business, media, NGOs, women and youth to work and engage with local and state-level political processes (working with EU & other partners).
– Support BiH’s state and entity anti-corruption strategies, together with EU and other donors, with a focus on practical implementation, e.g. processes and legislation which help tackle corruption and support judiciary.
– Support capacity building of the Ministry of Security and security agencies through outreach and projects, to promote better inter-police working and regional co-operation, and to deal with organised crime, corruption and emerging threats to a safe and secure environment.
– Establish an effective and transparent Officer Selection and Training process in BiH Armed Forces.
– Help UK companies to win business in BiH.

There are a couple more objectives about handling consular cases and managing the Embassy’s money and people, but basically that’s it. That’s what we do. It might not be as interesting as some of the more lavish conspiracy theories but, for my money, it’s a lot more important and worthwhile.

(Taken from the official blog of Edward Ferguson, British Ambassador to B&H)

(Source: blogs.fco.gov.uk )


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