Information on the implementation of the projects related to Emergency Response to the Migrant and Refugee Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina funded by the European Union

Date Publish: 
Wednesday, January 13, 2021


Information on the implementation of the projects related to Emergency Response to the Migrant and Refugee Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina funded by the European Union


Introduction and Purpose of this Information Sheet


As of June 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in coordination with Bosnia and Herzegovina Minister of Security, the European Union, its partner organizations UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA and DRC and through its implementing partners and the Una Sana and Bihac Red Cross supports the management of the migration and refugee situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

This information sheet is intended to provide information on:

(I)    the process of determining how the EU funding is allocated and how its use is monitored and verified;

(II)   how much funding has been received and how much has been spent so far; and

(III)  how the funding has been spent so far.


As regards the funding received from the EU, IOM’s role is three-fold: (1) implement agreed upon activities directly or through implementing partners; (2) pass-on the funds allocated to its partner organisations UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA and DRC; and (3) procure equipment, goods, services and support staffing costs for BiH institutions in accordance with their priorities and expressed needs.


Key Facts

# Total funding allocated by the EU to and through IOM since June 2018: EUR 76,851,217

# Total funding spent as of December 2020: EUR 51,560,327

# Remaining funding to cover period until July 2021: EUR 25,290,890

# Total number of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers assisted so far: 59,139

# Number of Migrant and Refugee Accommodation Centres established since June 2018: 7 with total approved capacity of 7830 beds [1]


I   How are Funding Priorities Determined and How is Expenditure Monitored and Verified?

Once a decision has been taken by the EU of the amount of funding to be allocated, priorities and budget are established through a meeting between representatives of the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the BiH Ministry of Security, IOM and its UN partners and the Danish Refugee Council. The final decision on allocation and budget rests with the donor.

The implementation of budget is overseen by an ‘IPA Special Measures Steering Board’ which meets on a regular basis and consists of representatives of the EU Delegation in BiH, the Ministry of Security, the Border Police, the Service for Foreigners Affairs, IOM and its UN Partners, and DRC. This board is a decision-making forum for where changes to the original budget in accordance with evolving needs are presented, discussed and decided upon.

To ensure full accountability and transparency, IOM submits monthly financial reports to the Assistant Minister for Migration (within BiH Ministry of Security) and the EU Delegation in BiH. This report includes details of how the funding was spent in the previous month by IOM and its implementing partners. The Assistant Minister submits these reports to the Ministry of Finance BiH for their input and, once received and finalised, then sends these reports to the Council of Ministers prior to their session. In addition, IOM also submits a detailed end-of-year financial report which is processed in the same manner.

Finally, IOM and its partners are subject to regular internal and external audits to verify that the funds were spent in accordance with the approved budget and the stringent rules of the EU in this regard. External auditors are contracted by the EU.


II   How much funding has been received and how much has been spent so far?

The below graph provides an overview of the funding so far received by IOM from the EU to support BiH with the management of the migrant and refugee situation:


The funding is provided through the following EU mechanisms and Directorates General (DGs):  a) the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) by Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), b) Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) and c) Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The below graph indicates the funding amount spent and the amount remaining, which will cover assistance provided for the coming period until July 2021:



III   How was the funding spent?

The below graph shows how the funding already used was spent:



3.1 Operational and Administrative Costs (2%)

These costs include financial, procurement and administrative staff necessary to support the operational activities as well as office costs for Sarajevo and Bihac.


3.2 Establishment of 7 Migrant and Refugee Accommodation Centres (14%)

These are one-time costs incurred when establishing the 7 migrant and refugee accommodation centres that were created in BiH since 2018. Prior to the establishment of migrant accommodation centres, all locations must be designated and approved by the BiH Ministry of Security.

These costs include all expenditures necessary for the establishment of migrant and refugee accommodation centres and include the initial construction and reconstruction of building and facilities for housing and services; purchasing of all necessary equipment for operating the centre; purchasing and installation of containers (where used); and creating the necessary water, electricity and sewage systems inside the centres.

Concrete examples include:

  • Full reconstruction works of the ex-student dormitory facility Borici, including establishment of sewage system, electricity connection, and laundry and kitchen facilities
  • Full construction works with all amenities for electricity, water and sewage of migrant and refugee centres Usivak and Blazuj including reconstruction/construction of buildings for kitchen, dining hall, warehouse, laundry room and medical services
  • Purchasing and installation of 562 containers for accommodation and shower/toilet facilities used in Usivak, Blazuj, Lipa, Bira, Sedra, Borici and Miral
  • Purchasing of 5900 bunk beds and more than 10,000 matrasses and bedding equipment; 1300 oil radiators and electric heaters; 45 industrial washing and drying machines; and 900 pieces of IT equipment for the registration of beneficiaries, internet access points in all centres appropriate for large-scale use and in-camp video surveillance systems for camp security


3.3 Humanitarian Assistance (77%)

Humanitarian assistance is divided into the following sub-categories with the amount spent next to each sub-category:



a. Food and nutrition

Food in the centres is prepared and delivered by IOM’s implementing partners (in Canton Sarajevo) and Una Sana and Bihac Red Cross (in Una Sana Canton). IOM uses the EU funding to pay these organisations and their staff for the services rendered and procures food items directly to reduce costs. In this period, more than 8.2 million meals were provided to beneficiaries in the centres, with an additional 15,000 meals and drinking water distributed to migrants and refugees sleeping outside centres in make-shift camps and abandoned buildings in Una Sana Canton.

b. Distribution of Non-Food Items

Non-food items include items necessary for personal hygiene, like soap, shampoo and toothbrushes, clothes, shoes and other small items necessary for the every-day life of migrants and asylum seekers residing inside the reception centres. These items are distributed to migrants and refugees on the basis of needs. It also includes sleeping bags, winter clothes and other emergency items distributed to persons sleeping rough or in make-shift camps. So far, 1.6 million items were distributed, including 11,724 pairs of winter boots, 12,220 winter jackets, over 12,000 winterized sleeping bags, and 25,000 protective face masks against COVID-19.

c. Shelter, WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and Running Costs

This includes essential expenditure for the running of the migrant and refugee accommodation centres including things like cost of fuel for heating, utilities, waste management, regular maintenance, purchasing of bedding sets, rents for buildings and tents (where used) as well as staff costs related to the operation and management of the centres as well as the protection of and provision of essential services to the residents of the centres (IOM teams are present 24/7 in all centres).

d. Security

These are costs related to the provision of security services to ensure a secure and safe environment for all residents in the centres. This includes things like fire alarms, first aid equipment, fire extinguishers, and costs related to private security agencies which are present 24/7 in all centres.

e. Protection, Health and Education

While migrants and refugees are medically treated by local health institutions, all costs are born by DRC with EU funds. Expenditure also includes medical transportation; care and protection for unaccompanied and separated children and families with children, including access to primary education; prevention and protection from Gender Based Violence and free legal aid to those wanting claim asylum in BiH. 


3.4 Direct Support to BiH Institutions (7%)

In accordance with the priorities established through the Ministry of Security, this direct support to the BiH institutions involvement in the management and response to the migrant and refugee situation has included, for example:

  • Procurement of 30 specialized vehicles, vehicles and vans for the Service for Foreigners Affairs (SFA) (6), the BiH Border Police (6), and Una Sana Canton (USC) Police (18)
  • Financing of salaries for 25 SFA officers
  • Costs of accommodation and food for Republika Srpska police officers, Border Police and SFA inspectors in Zvornik, Foča, Bijeljina, Bihać and Trebinje
  • Support to Border Police and SFA in transportation of migrants (including fuel and other related costs)
  • Procurement of audio-visual devices for the needs of USC police (drones, thermal cameras, cameras, …)
  • Procurement of protective equipment for police officers in Una Sana Canton, including purchase of 50 pcs of winter boots, police riot control body armour, police helmets and police boots
  • Procurement of uniforms for SFA
  • Procurement of rescue boats for USC police
  • Costs of physical protection of the SFA Office in Sarajevo
  • Costs of office rental in Bihac for the needs of SFA
  • Procurement of IT equipment for SFA officers (laptops, tablets, printers, fax, scanners, digital cameras, etc.)
  • Procurement of an ambulance for Una-Sana Canton health authorities


IV. Further Information on Employment and Procurement


4.1 Employment

IOM currently employs 423 staff members in reception centres and in its outreach teams that provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees who are living in make-shift camps and abandoned buildings in Una Sana Canton. Two staff members are non-BiH citizens, while the remaining 421 are BiH citizens. As the below graph indicates, over 50% of the staff are from Una Sana Canton, while the second largest group comes from Sarajevo Canton, reflecting the efforts IOM makes to prioritise recruitment from local communities where migrant and refugee accommodation centres are located. 



In total, however, the activities funded through the EU funding provide direct employment for over 1,100 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina as, in addition to IOM staff, also other implementing agencies, service providers, UN partners and DRC employ staff for the services they provide. For example, Red Cross and together employ 170 staff for the preparation and delivery of food, while private security companies employ on average 220 people per month.

4.2 Procurement

Overall, the total value of services and items purchased amounts to more than  EUR 31,000,000 – over 98% of these purchases were made from BiH companies, out of which 85% are local vendors based in the two Cantons where migrant and refugee accommodation centres are located, i.e. Sarajevo and Una Sana Canton.



[1] The centres are ‘Usivak’ and ‘Blazuj’ in Canton Sarajevo and ‘Bira’, ‘Borici’, ‘Sedra’, ‘Lipa’ and ‘Miral’ in Una Sana Canton. Approved capacity refers to the capacity of each centre approved by the relevant authorities. Some centres operate above official capacity as emergency needs arise (for example, ‘Blazuj’ has an official capacity of 2400 but currently has over 3000 residents. Migrant and Refugee Accommodation Centre ‘Bira’ was closed by the Una Sana Canton authorities in November 2020 while ‘Lipa’ is currently closed for works to turn it into a permanent location for migrant and refugee accommodation.