OHR’s Statement at the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference in Banja Luka

Poverty beginning to decrease

The BiH Development Strategy interim monitoring results, which show, among
other things, that poverty is at last beginning to decrease, are an important
sign of positive change.Many citizens will greet this information with
skepticism as living conditions do not seem to have improved – which is why the
authorities have to make sure that benefits reach as many people as possible as
quickly as possible.

After years of stagnation and endemic poverty, economic reforms are beginning
to deliver results.

Nobody should be in any doubt, however – poverty and unemployment remain the
biggest threat to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and eliminating these
twin scourges are – or should be – the top priority of the governments and

The reforms that have started to raise living standards are reforms that take
BiH closer to Europe. The authorities must not now jeopardise the modest but
important progress that has been made. Euro-integration and maintaining the
momentum of economic reform are the only way to move BiH decisively and
permanently from the terrible grip of poverty.

The monitoring results show that there is a growing disproportion between the
average income in the RS and FBiH. Salaries have risen faster and more jobs have
been created in the Federation than in the RS. The unemployment rate in RS is
growing in comparison to the Federation. This points up the urgency of
consolidating the Single Economic Space and removing political obstacles to
reforms that will create jobs in the RS. The agenda is clear: politicians have
to implement this agenda with less dithering and with greater