Mr. Nudzeim Recica, Deputy Minister for Civil Affairs
and Communications of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Geneva, 29 June 2000
Mr President, Distinguished
Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the time the World Summit For Social Development was held in Copenhagen in March 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina was still suffering enormous war destruction. The ten commitments adopted thereby were the distant future for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today, five years after the Copenhagen Summit, when we analyse the results achieved and progress made, we see Bosnia and Herzegovina has the peace it eagerly wanted and the commitments made in Copenhagen, especially the commitments concerning national issues, more and more make part of Bosnia and Herzegovina's everyday life on the way of sustainable development. Unfortunately, on the way towards full implementation of the said commitments, there are still many obstacles ahead.
Bosnia and Herzegovina's
authorities are aware of the fact, which is every day more and more obvious
in the globalisation process, that international integrations are the only possible
way towards the establishment of sustainable social development - the development
which must mostly be based on the activities that we have to undertake at the
national level, but which should be supported by the key international institutions
and developed countries.
During the post-war period
concrete steps are being made regarding the implementation of the provisions
of the Copenhagen Declaration, particularly to the establishment of legal, economic,
social and cultural bases for the social development. A number of legislative
regulations have been enacted in the fields of social policy, civil service,
and labour issues, etc. Intensive efforts have been made to promote social and
employment programmes, as well as to modernize the education process.
Nevertheless, a very difficult
economic and social situation is our reality. Reasons for insufficient and slow
economic and social recovery are:
1. The war waged in
B&H and its consequences as well as still an unstable political situation
in the Region,
2. Transition of the
country's overall economy from the former socialist to the market Economy,
3. Privatisation process.
Consequences of the four
years long war and enormous destruction are still strongly felt both in economy
and in infrastructure, and especially in the social infrastructure. Perhaps
the strongest blow for Bosnia and Herzegovina was the fact that over half of
)its pre-war population became refugees and displaced persons, the majority
of who are still waiting to return. About 600,000 (six hundred thousand) refugees
and displaced persons have returned into Bosnia and Herzegovina, but of this
number some 200,000 (two hundred thousand) are still waiting to return to their
own homes. About 600,000 refugees abroad are waiting to return without having
their status resolved in the countries where they are staying. About 700,000
(seven hundred thousand) internally displaced persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina
are waiting to return to their homes. This is not only a politically serious
problem, but also economically and socially, which Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot
resolve by itself. The figures are extremely high taking into account 4,5 million
whole population of the Country.
As a result of the great
war destruction, economic transition of the country and privatisation process,
the reasons that most heavily slow down both economic and social development
is the employment situation. The unemployment indicators show that the number
of the unemployed today in Bosnia and Herzegovina is by 2.5 (two point five)
times higher than before the prewar year, 1991, which expressed in figures is
750,000 people looking for a job. The problem becomes even more complex when
we have in mind that the number of the employed compared to the pre-war period
Although the employment
rate has tended to increase over the past five years, a great shock in the employment
segment came with the demobilisation of about 300,000 (three hundred thousand)
veterans in the years following the end of the war, as well as the current extensive
activities on reducing the military forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The portrayed social situation
is made even more complex by the fact that a large number of families in Bosnia
and Herzegovina, whose breadwinners were killed, need to be provided for, just
like a large number of the disabled persons and civilian war victims.
Profound negative effects
on the social image of Bosnia and Herzegovina are produced by the situation
in the pension and disabled persons' funds of B&H. Actually, these funds
were emptied on the eve of the war, and particularly during the war. But, the
financial basis was not provided for the replenishment of these funds whose
substantial property, which might have served for their replenishment, was destroyed,
With the aim to achieve
sustainable social development in B&H, under supervision of the international
community represented by the several international institutions existing in
B&H, and led by the Office of the High Representative for B&H, as well
as by the OSCE Mission to B&H, legislation was enacted to govern the basic
property issues relevant for the return of refugees and displaced persons to
their property. Considerable efforts are being made to consolidate the pension
funds under the patronage of the IMF and the WB, and all the regulations are
being harmonised with the EU regulations, the regulations of the Council of
Europe respectively, whose member Bosnia and Herzegovina would like to become.
Owing to the privatisation
process that is underway, which in fact has just been initiated, investment
in the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been slowed down. Unfortunately,
the social image of Bosnia and Herzegovina has deteriorated due to the external
debts of B&H. Actually, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been trying to meet its
obligations by regular repayment of its foreign debts in order to be able to
apply at the same time for new finances necessary for a sustainable economy
and social development.
Agreements have been made
about the repayment and rescheduling of debt repayment with the World Bank,
London and Paris Clubs of Trustees. However, negative effects of regular servicing
of the foreign debts are that annual amounts of debts repayment surpass the
budgetary allowances of B&H appropriated for education, social and health
care and employment.
B&H is in the phase
of the structural adjustment programmes and stand-by arrangements with the IMF.
It is indispensable to
get acceptable conditions from the IMF and other international financial institutions
in the transition period, which would at least partly alleviate the inevitable
sharp cuts into the budgetary allowances for social care and education.
B&H takes the view that for developing countries, the countries in transition, and especially for the countries emerging from war, and which are encountering wide-scope humanitarian crises, either at home or in the neighbourhood, it is necessary to find a new concept of debts rescheduling and softening credit requirements and debt write-off, if possible.
Bosnia and Herzegovina calls on the Conference, the member countries, governmental and nongovernmental organisations to pay special attention to the question of adopting special strategy, even burden sharing and direct material support for the countries the most directly facing the post-conflict situations and special humanitarian crises.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
still has hundreds of thousands of refugees waiting for their houses and infrastructure
to be rebuilt, so that conditions should be created for sustainable return,
and at the same time as a member if international community regularly meets
its international commitments concerning the issue of offering temporary asylum
for the displaced persons.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
accepted about 60,000 (sixty thousand) refugees from the FRY, as a result of
the conflict between Kosovo and the FRY. In addition to the direct aid from
the UNHCR, the support for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the social care segment,
health care and education for these 60,000 refugees has been minimal, or even
failed to take place. It is therefore essential to have equal burden sharing
with the countries that find themselves in such a situation, and work out programmes
of concrete aid.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
has been making efforts to ensure transparent management, promote anticorruption
struggle, and establish the complete rule of law.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
sees its chance to achieve sustainable social development in the initiative
taken recently for the countries of South-Eastern Europe, the Stability Pact,
which is to create a safe environment for mutual development and cooperation
of the Region's countries. We expect full support in the implementation of this
very important project from the USA and the countries of the European Union.
The presence of the international community and international military forces in B&H remain a necessity with the aim to implement the Dayton Agreement and to establish B&H as an open, democratic, multiethnic society of equal citizens, the society of equal opportunities irrespective of nation, religion and political affiliation. Let the new B&H be a country of equal opportunities for all citizens. Let knowledge and ability be the prevailing factor. A modern set-up and the democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina with a social policy well devised, and with a modern and sustainable economy will be our contribution to the world global policy and social peace and progress in the world. Do help us with these efforts.
I thank you.