ALAC’s approach to COVID-19 in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Provide legal assistance to citizens, as well as work with other civil society organisations and with the government to enhance Bosnia and Herzegovina’s COVID-19 response in line with the broader objective of improving the country’s social accountability mechanisms.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) is dedicated to providing legal assistance to all citizens. In 2020, the ALAC in Bosnia has received numerous cases related to COVID-19 and some on other health-related topics. The ALAC is also working with government and other civil society organisations to effectively monitor resources earmarked for COVID-19 efforts.
The country has introduced the following measures: Prohibition of mass gatherings and sport activities, school closures and general encouragement of social distancing measures, as well as surveillance at points of entry, active detection and isolation. These measures have helped slow down the spread of virus, albeit not having stopped it completely.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a lower-middle-income country with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of US$ 1,270. The health system and other relevant sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, do not have capacities to respond to the demand arising from the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, in April 2020, Bosnia requested international assistance from NATO and IMF. On 20th April, the IMF Executive Board approved US$361 Million in Emergency Support to Bosnia and Herzegovina to address the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Transparency International in Bosnia and Herzegovina (TI BiH) filed criminal charges against the District Prosecutor’s Office of Banja Luka against the management of the Public Health Institute of the Republic of Srpska due to controversial procurements of medical equipment from unqualified bidders.
- Monitor COVID-19 related funds: The ALAC and TI Bosnia are joining other civil society organisations in their efforts to monitor the governments’ expenditure of the IMF funding. This is to ensure that the money goes where it is needed the most and no resources are wasted on corruption. Monitoring & evaluation