The Dialogue on the Constitution of BiH project will bring together a group of individuals form Bosnia and Herzegovina , who do not have a direct party political affiliation, but who command a serious amount of respect in the country and outside – opinion makers, who influence people without having direct powers. Local ownership is of the essence. The select group of people will be kept as small as possible – the larger it gets, the more cumbersome it is likely to be. These people will be brought together several times to discuss what they and their communities will need to be able to accept that they will live in the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina . They will receive all support needed from the two NGOs – the Center for Euro Atlantic Integration and Democracy in Budapest and the Center for Security Studies in Sarajevo – which will be the conveners of the meetings and host the project. The entire project will be conducted under the auspices of the Government of Norway.
Since the conclusion of the Dayton Accords in 1995, much progress has been made in the consolidation of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina . That being said there is also widespread feeling that progress has not been sufficient to make the overall process self-sustaining. The attention of the International Community is beyond doubt declining, as is the inflow of foreign aid. The Dayton process, we also feel, is about to reach its limits. We think a new approach is necessary, which does not call the achievements made to date into question, but rather builds on them, in a slightly different context.
The group will use the Dayton Accords as a starting point and put its emphasis on paving the way for BiH’s integration in Euro-Atlantic structures. The group of experts will at the outset focus on the parts of the constitution and the political system that function well or at least passably well. From there the group will proceed to consider those parts of the Constitution that do not function as well or that do not function at all. The group will then propose and develop, on the basis of the proceeding discussions, concrete amendments to the constitution in order to deal with current shortcomings and problems, outlining the basic principles of a new constitution. Finally, the findings of the group will have to be fed into the political process in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time in order to bear effect.