Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) in 2018, for the period 2018-2022. The NAP was developed by the country’s Agency for Gender Equality and the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, based on the results of and recommendations from the evaluation of the second action plan. Similar to the country’s previous NAP, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s third action plan contextualizes the WPS agenda by providing a detailed overview of the country’s domestic legal framework and critically examines the legislative and policy developments to advance women’s full participation in public and political life. The NAP also offers a detailed gender equality analysis of women’s participation in high-level decision-making positions such as in the security forces and peacekeeping missions. Additionally, the NAP has a section devoted to analyzing human security through the perspective of gender equality, which includes sections on human trafficking, victims of sexual violence and other wartime atrocities, and landmines as well as touching upon natural disasters, migration, violent exremism, and small arms and light weapons. While the NAP includes a detailed implementation matrix, it does not have an allocated budget. 

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s third NAP is preceded by two other NAPs, adopted in 2010 and 2014 and implemented for the period 2010-2013 and 2014-2017, respectively. All three of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s NAP are equally detailed, including dedicated sections that contextualize the WPS agenda within the country’s domestic gender equality frameworks. Additionally, both the second and third NAPs include a standalone section that discusses “lessons learned” from the implementation of the previous action plans.  The overall goals of the NAPs have also remained consistently similar, focusing on participation, prevention, and protection, with the exception of the third NAP, which has added the prevention of the misuse of small arms and light weapons as an action item amongst the overarching objectives. 

Bosnia-Herzegovina gained independence from former Yugoslavia in 1992. The country went through a violent armed conflict between 1992 and 1995, where ethnic cleansing and sexual violence were used as weapons of war. The conflict resulted in thousands of casualties and missing people and millions of refugees, and came to an end through the Dayton Peace Agreement. Even though women survived severe wartime atrocities and yet were still at the forefront of peacebuilding initiatives, they were excluded from high-level diplomatic negotiations. Increased rates of domestic violence and human trafficking are remnants of the war with which the country is still grappling. 

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established in 1993 to prosecute crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars. ICTY investigated and indicted perpetrators of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina, recognizing for the first time rape as a war crime as well as a crime against humanity. In July 2018, Bosnia-Herzegovina signed the Joint Declaration on Missing Persons and Joint Declaration on War Crimes in the Framework of the Berlin Process at the Western Balkans Summit Leaders Meeting. Despite being a signatory to the declaration, the Bosnian government has not taken an official position to support RECOM, a regional truth commission to investigate war crimes and human rights violations committed between 1991 and 2001 in former Yugoslavia. 

At the multilateral level, Bosnia-Herzegovina most recently served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2010-2011. 



Global Gender Gap Index 2020

69 out of 153

Arms Trade Treaty Ratified


Military expenditure (2019)

$162 million USD

Explore Bosnia and Herzegovina's National Action Plan

  • Actors
  • Timeframe
  • Objectives
  • Actions/Activities
  • Indicators
  • M&E
  • Budget
  • Disarmament

NAP Development

The NAP indicates that non-governmental organizations represented on the coordination board (which is responsible for monitoring the NAP’s implementation) were consulted in the development of the NAP. 

WILPF does not have a country section in Bosnia-Herzegovina and therefore was not involved in the development process of its NAP.

The NAP was developed by Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Agency for Gender Equality and the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees.  

NAP Implementation

Non-governmental organizations are listed as partners in implementing select objectives. However, the NAP does not specify how or which organizations will play a role in the NAP’s implementation. 

Several ministries, such as the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Justice, among others, are tasked with implementing various objectives of the NAP.

NAP Monitoring and Evaluation

The NAP will be monitored by a coordination board, which consists of members from institutions within the security sector and one member representing non-governmental organizations.

The implementation period of the NAP is four years (2018-2022).

The NAP identifies three strategic objectives:

  1. Increased participation of women in military forces, police and peacekeeping missions, including participation in decision-making positions;
  2. Increased level of human security from gender equality perspective;
  3. Improved conditions and access to the implementation of AP UNSCR 1325.

The NAP includes a detailed implementation matrix that breaks down each strategic objective with corresponding medium-term objectives, anticipated outcomes, activities, holders (i.e., parties responsible for implementation), time-limit, and source of financing. For example, strategic objective #1 identifies, “Key policies, legislation and other regulations enable the increased participation of women in military forces, police and peacekeeping missions, including participation in decision-making positions” as a mid-term objective. One of the corresponding activities for this objective is identified as “Analysing and identifying obstacles (visible and hidden) for larger participation and advancement of women in the system of defence and security, including decision-making positions (investigate the reasons which directly affect employment/recruiting of women and career management).”

Similar to the country’s second NAP, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s third NAP will follow the qualitative and quantitative indicators identified in the monitoring and evaluation plan, which will be created after the adoption of the NAP.


The NAP does not include a monitoring and evaluation plan. However, a separate monitoring and evaluation plan will be made available after the adoption of the NAP to streamline the monitoring process. Additionally, the NAP’s implementation will be monitored by a coordination board, which consists of members from institutions within the security sector and one member representing non-governmental organizations.

Even though the NAP’s implementation matrix includes a column for “source of funding” for each activity, neither the activities nor the NAP has an allocated or estimated budget.

The NAP does not directly address disarmament, but does touch upon related topics. Specifically, in line with the action plan’s strategic goal of achieving “increased levels of human security from the perspective of gender equality,” the NAP touches upon the link between illegal posession of small arms and light weapons and violence against women and domestic violence. Additionally, the NAP addresses the need to reduce the risk of landmines and explosive remnants of war in a gender-responsive way. Finally, the NAP refers to the Beijing Declaration’s emphasis on the need to “decrease military expenditure” (p. 5) while contextualizing the NAP in an international legal framework. However, the NAP does not specify how Bosnia-Herzegovina will address military expenditure or disarmament overall.

Documents and Further Reading

WILPF Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2019)
A Feminist Perspective on Post-Conflict Restructuring and Recovery – the Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2017)
From War to Sustainable Peace: A Solidarity Dialogue between Bosnian and Ukrainian Women Activists (2016)
The Development of a Gender-Sensitive Reparations Programme (2015)
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