A group of ten government officials and civil society actors from Ukraine was in Bosnia last week to learn more about the integration of persons displaced by a military conflict. The Ukrainians arrived to Sarajevo on a study trip to learn more about the role of government, civil society and private business in integrating internally displaced persons, IDPs, through meaningful employment.
The training and study trip was organized by the Peace Academy Foundation in Sarajevo, with the support of USAID and World Learning. Ukraine’s government and society in general are dealing with the issues arising from ongoing violence in the country’s eastern regions. The government registered 1.5 million persons who were forced to leave their homes.
A more meaningful integration of IDPs and returnees remains elusive
The visiting Ukrainians met with Bosnian counterparts working on issues of persons displaced during the Bosnian war of the nineties. They learned about the context of the Bosnian conflict and met with the government stakeholders on different levels, as well as officials of the international organizations that helped Bosnia with integrating IDPs, such as the UNHCR, and local civil society organizations that played a role in Bosnia’s effort to resolve the issues of persons who either returned to their homes after the conflict or chose to settle elsewhere.
The Ukrainians noted that a lot was done in terms of rebuilding homes and housing in general, but a more meaningful integration of IDPs and returnees remains elusive. Still, although the Bosnian and Ukrainian experiences are different, the struggles of IDPs are similar, and the successes of Bosnian integration effort carry lessons that can be applied in the eastern European nation.