Policy Profile Bosnia and Herzegovina


Bosnia and Herzegovina is a candidate country for membership of the European Union, but engages in processes that align its policies with EU standards, including those related to heritage and culture as part of its potential path towards EU accession.

Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU

Bosnia and Herzegovina works closely with the European Commission and participates in various EU programs to enhance its readiness for membership – Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) in particular. As part of the accession process, Bosnia and Herzegovina will work on a number of chapters, including Chapter 26 which covers progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of Education and culture. The European Union maintains a Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, and the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina maintains an Embassy to the EU in Brussels.

Cultural Policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s approach to cultural policy and heritage preservation is characterised by its multi-layered governance structure, which requires coordination and cooperation across different levels of government and between various entities. At the national level, the cultural policy framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina is determined by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in coordination with the entity governments – the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and the Government of Brčko District. The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a key state-level body responsible for the protection of the country’s vast cultural heritage set up by the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Dayton Peace Agreement) and the Decision of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.

Implementation of the decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments rests on the entities. Each of these entities has its own ministries responsible for culture and heritage, reflecting the country’s decentralised governance structure – Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina involves its Ministry of Physical Planning and Ministry of Culture and Sport, while Republika Srpska has the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction, and Ecology and the Ministry of Education and Culture. Under the Government of Brčko District are its Department for Economic Development, Sports and Culture and its Department for Spatial Planning and Property and Legal Affairs. Entity-level ministries and departments collaborate with local governments and non-governmental organisations to promote cultural heritage, manage cultural institutions, and implement heritage protection measures.

The country needs in the future to ensure a permanent solution to the legal status and financing for the cultural institutions of significance for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At the cantonal level, five of the eleven cantons have their own cantonal institutes: Sarajevo, Tuzla, Bihac, Bugojno and Mostar.

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* = This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence

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