Today, the Municipality of Vareš hosted a visit of Peter M. Wagner, the Head of the EU’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), Johann Sattler, Head of the Delegation of the European Union/EU Special Representative in BiH, and representatives of seven local communities who are setting a positive example in building trust between different groups.
The meeting took place as part of the “Možemo bolje” project, which is financed by the EU through FPI, and is implemented jointly by the EU, UN, OSCE and Council of Europe.
The project aims to support the work of “champions of peace” – individuals and communities who are creating a positive environment for cooperation across divides. The Municipality of Vareš is one such community, where action for peace is promoted as an individual and collective responsibility. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the City of Prnjavor and the municipalities of Jablanica, Teočak, Čelić, Sapna and Lopare, which are also part of the Možemo bolje project.
“The EU was founded as a peace project, and the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments is central to the EU’s efforts to remain true to that aim and strengthen peace and stability across the globe. I am glad to meet far sighted representatives of local communities who have the vision to work for a better future, and proud that the EU has been able to provide support for this project,” said Mr Wagner.
Building trust, cohesion and sustainable peace is one of the most important priorities of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the “Možemo bolje” project shows the importance of strategic partnerships in that process and meaningful joint efforts of international actors, all levels of government in BiH and citizens.
“All across Bosnia and Herzegovina it is possible to see determined leaders and communities who are making real progress in trustbuilding between different groups. They provide a powerful counternarrative to rhetoric that creates artificial divisions and which all too often appears in the public sphere”, said Ambassador Sattler.
The cooperation of local communities, authorities and citizens is an example of how Bosnia and Herzegovina can do better, especially in opposing narratives of division.“Možemo bolje” project was emphasized as a positive platform that enables people to truly and jointly work on development of BiH society through trust and cohesion.
Through the implementation of the project so far in 23 communities supported initiatives include inter-religious learning, youth engagement, women’s empowerment, CSOs development and advocacy, cultural heritage and diversity, performing arts and applied theatre, sports activities, environmental and civil protection. Work has begun on 12 infrastructure projects in 11 communities, and the work of 27 civil society organizations was supported.