- Civil Affairs continued to support the other elements of the UNMIBH mission and, in particular, IPTF during the period under review through political advice, political reporting, human rights work and confidence- building measures. Steps have been taken to integrate further the various elements of the mission. During the coming period, Civil Affairs will, in addition, become involved in training IPTF officers new to the mission area. As the municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina approach, Civil Affairs will also participate in the OSCE-led effort to create conditions in which voters can make a free and informed choice at the ballot box. In addition, Civil Affairs officers have worked with IPTF to identify areas of possible inter-communal conflict and to initiate political contacts to head off such clashes. Major potential conflicts in the areas of Mostar, Travnik, Vitez, Sanski Most and elsewhere have been successfully avoided thanks to action initiated by Civil Affairs officers.
- In cooperation with IPTF and other organizations active in the area of human rights, Civil Affairs has focused political efforts on human rights problems in Brcko, Drvar, Jajce and elsewhere. Civil Affairs has intervened with local authorities and has provided case-work which was brought to the attention of the highest authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina by my Special Representative. Particular emphasis has been placed on police behaviour and related human rights abuses that have occurred when persons belonging to one ethnic group sought to return to homes located in areas currently controlled by authorities of a different group.
- In addition to nurturing inter-communal contacts on its own initiative, Civil Affairs has continued to provide good offices in parts of the country in which there are no other representatives of the international community. In central Bosnia, for instance, Civil Affairs has chaired seminars on the subject of governance in a federal environment prepared by Swiss experts and officials, which were attended by Bosniac and Croat authorities.
The Legal Office
- The UNMIBH Legal Office has been supporting IPTF in the implementation of its mandate in relation to the criminal justice system by working with an international expert team on the re-drafting of the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure for the Federation; by reviewing model police protocols drafted by the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Programme (ICITAP); by advising on the development of mechanisms to document non-compliance of law enforcement officials; by sponsoring a planning workshop on criminal justice reform for international agencies providing programmes; by advising on the development of an administrative review procedure for police certification; and by providing advice on the interpretation of the General Framework Agreement and international standards. In addition, the UNMIBH Legal Office routinely provides advice to IPTF personnel in the field on general questions of local law.
Mine Action Centre
- During the past three months the Mine Action Centre (MAC) has made substantial progress in the implementation of its 1997 programme, although the scale of the programme had to be cut back because of insufficient funding.
- On 26 May, training courses for 135 Bosnian deminers, organized by MAC, began in Banja Luka, Tuzla and Mostar. These deminers are the first of those who will be deployed on priority tasks by MAC starting in late June before being integrated into the Government structures when MAC facilities are transferred to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Commission for Demining in December 1997. If funds become available, up to 1,200 deminers will be trained, deployed and transferred to the Government structures at the end of the year.
- Regional offices of MAC are now fully operational in Banja Luka, Bihac, Mostar and Tuzla. In addition to running the training programmes, the regional offices work with the local authorities and the multinational divisions of SFOR to collect more information about the location of minefields, to set priorities for the mine clearance operations, to promote mine awareness in the areas of the country most affected by mines and to coordinate all mine clearance operations in the regions.
- MAC continues to cooperate with external agencies. A contract has been signed with an international non-governmental organization for the development of a 30-man demining team in Bihac. In addition, MAC has received 17 technical experts made available by the Governments of Austria, Canada, France, Norway and Sweden. Additional experts are expected by the end of June from Germany and Switzerland. These experts are working on training programmes and on monitoring of operations. MAC continues to assist the European Commission, the World Bank, Norwegian Peoples' Aid and other organizations participating in the Mine Action Plan with their respective demining programmes. Liaison with SFOR and its activities in support of mine lifting by the armies of the former warring factions has been strengthened.
- The Bosnia and Herzegovina Commission for Demining, established following the London Conference of the Peace Implementation Council in December 1996, has met regularly and taken decisions in line with its mandate. It has submitted a number of reports to the Council of Ministers. Action by the latter to endorse the Commission's reports and to establish a budget for its operations is now a matter of great urgency. Meanwhile, the Governments of the Federation and the Republika Srpska have established project implementation units at both central and regional levels to manage the implementation of World Bank-funded projects.
- Tragically, the arrival of spring weather and the return of displaced persons and refugees has led to a sharp increase in the number of civilian mine casualties and fatalities reported. This figure has now reportedly doubled to approximately 90 incidents per month and, as more refugees return during the summer, it can be expected that the number will rise further. The demand from municipalities and communities for help with mine clearance is growing correspondingly. It is anticipated that by July 1997 a total of 700 deminers will be engaged in mine clearance for the organizations participating in the Mine Action Plan. This is well short of the basic requirement of 2,000 deminers identified in the United Nations consolidated appeal for 1997.
- MAC itself faces an immediate funding crisis. Contributions were received in 1996 and early 1997 from the Governments of Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the European Commission, together with in-kind support from the Government of the United States of America. However, even at a reduced level of operation, these funds are expected to be exhausted next month. In view of the delays in the receipt of funds, the revised requirement for 1997 has been set at US$ 23 million, a modest amount considering the enormous benefits to the people of Bosnia which will result. Support from donor Governments is now urgently required.
Trust Fund Unit
- The Trust Fund Unit, established under Security Council resolution 900 (1994), was transferred to UNMIBH from the Office of the Special Coordinator for Sarajevo in May 1996. Guided by terms of reference which cover the "reconstruction of essential services" in Sarajevo, the Unit continues to monitor the implementation of 52 large-scale infrastructure projects initiated under the Sarajevo Trust Fund programme, which has disbursed over US$ 13 million for projects primarily in the sectors of public transport, public utilities and building reconstruction. The Unit also manages the Quick Impact Fund. With nearly 90 projects in progress, this fund has distributed over US$ 2.4 million, mainly towards the renovation of educational facilities, repair to gas and water delivery systems and support to municipal authorities in Sarajevo.
III. Activities of the United Nations System
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- The Office for Coordination of Emergency Agricultural Interventions of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) identifies beneficiaries for humanitarian assistance in the agricultural sector; assesses needs for relief; provides technical advice to non-governmental organizations and other agencies and coordinates their activities. The office also organizes monthly joint task force meetings with international agencies and the responsible local authorities.
- Limited funds have restricted FAO's spring 1997 campaign to emergency assistance amounting to US$ 135,000 for seeds, hand tools, fertilizers and crop protection chemicals in the Gorazde area. In addition, the FAO coordination project has distributed donations from Germany to the Neretva Canton municipalities.
United Nations Children's Fund
- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has progressed from emergency relief to long-term reconstruction and development assistance with an emphasis on training service providers and policy makers to meet the needs of children in the post-war period. In the health sector, UNICEF focuses its activities on children under the age of five who have not completed their primary vaccination schedule. In education, UNICEF is sponsoring monthly round tables to facilitate communication between the Federal and Cantonal Ministries of Education and to develop long-term training plans for the development of school psychological and special pedagogical services. UNICEF's Safe Water Supply project ensures that some 500,000 people each receive a minimum of 80 litres of potable water and trains the Water Management Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina on new technology. In cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World bank, UNICEF is assisting the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare in dealing with child mental health services.
United Nations Development Programme
- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Cooperation Framework for 1997-1999 was formally approved in May 1997. The focus remains on area-based development; support to national sectoral reconstruction programmes; and policy advisory support to the Government. Thirty-two projects totalling US$ 25.1 million are ongoing or have recently been approved. The European Commission has recently agreed to make an additional US$ 11 million available for reconstruction activities and has given its approval to an emergency employment programme which will focus on the municipalities identified by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as target areas for the return of refugees in 1997.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) focused on the following four major projects during the reporting period: (a) preparation of a rehabilitation plan for the old town of Mostar which, it is anticipated, will be written into the town plan; (b) an exercise in the Republika Srpska to help the authorities establish priorities in school reconstruction; (c) an increase of the administrative and planning capacity of both the education administration of the Middle Bosnia Canton and the Federal Ministry of Education and Culture; and (d) supporting the efforts of Bosnia's National TV 99 to extend its broadcasting area by financing the raising of the station's transmission tower, and helping small independent media in the Republika Srpska by contributing communications equipment.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
- The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, in its resolution 1997/57, extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur through March 1998. Following the resignation of the United Nations Expert on Missing Persons, the Special Rapporteur has assumed added responsibility for the problem of missing persons. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights organized one mission of the Special Rapporteur to Herzegovina and the Sarajevo region during the current reporting period.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights continues to participate in efforts aimed at strengthening cooperation between human rights agencies, in particular the Human Rights Coordination Centre of the Office of the High Representative. Human rights experts from the office continue to supervise a trial monitoring project and participate in other activities aimed at strengthening the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- During the period under review, UNHCR continued its efforts to implement annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Agreement. On 23 April, at a meeting of the Humanitarian Issues Working Group in Geneva, the Office presented a working plan entitled Repatriation and Return Operation 1997, which received broad support from the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the asylum countries and the international community. The document, which forms the basis of UNHCR's action in 1997 and 1998, provides a policy framework for repatriation and return movements, as well as for assistance to be provided to facilitate repatriation and return movements. It also contains a range of proposed activities and solutions to the problems of Bosnian refugees and internally displaced persons.
- It is estimated that, by 31 May 1997, 27,900 refugees had returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, 6,424 of them in an organized fashion. Most of these refugees returned to majority areas.
- Efforts to provide greater scope for minority returns were made through the "open cities" initiative. Building upon grass-roots initiatives, UNHCR and its partners offer support and material assistance to villages and municipalities which volunteer to declare themselves "open cities" by welcoming previous residents from all ethnic communities who wish to return to their former homes. UNHCR is now seeking to ensure that authorities in the Entities follow through on their commitment to the open city concept, which was announced in a joint statement issued on 21 March 1997, and that they continue their support for returns to the Zone of Separation.
- In related activities, UNHCR has set up legal aid centres in Tuzla, Mostar, Bosanska Krupa and Zenica. Information centres for returnees and displaced persons have been established in the Tuzla-Podrinje Canton and in the Mostar region. The Repatriation Information Centre has also become operational. To further promote the freedom of movement of people, UNHCR has continued to expand and improve the services of the bus lines which traverse the Inter-Entity Boundary Line. By May 1997, UNHCR was operating 11 bus lines between key municipalities of the Federation and the Republika Srpska, including a new line to and from Brcko. Since the project began in May 1996, the lines have transported nearly 340,000 passengers. Assessment visits to homes of origin continued.
- UNHCR has also devoted considerable efforts to the following activities: community services, with special emphasis on the elderly, children and youth and severely traumatized persons; and small-scale income-generating activities and local capacity-building for public institutions and non-governmental organizations. UNHCR's procurement of domestic items fully shifted to support of the local market. The impact of the Bosnian Women's Initiative through May 1997 was significant as it received numerous applications from women's groups and non-governmental organizations in the Federation and the Republika Srpska. Funding for 65 projects was approved during the period. These community-based projects target the most vulnerable women through income generation, micro-credit, food production, skills training and information sharing. The Initiative has contributed to empowering women and creating a ground for reconciliation.
- The World Bank's mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to implement the reconstruction programme approved by the international community at the Brussels conference in December 1995. The Bank is also helping Bosnia and Herzegovina introduce reform in the economic system to permit a more marketfriendly economic development. A total of US$ 350 million in World Bank funds has been mobilized in 16 specific projects to date. In addition, a fund of US$ 150 million is being managed by the Bank for co-financing these projects. The value of the projects prepared by the Bank, now in implementation phase, exceeds US$ 1 billion. As of mid-March 1997, contracts signed using World Bankadministered funds totalled 1,525, for a value of US$ 230 million.
- The World Bank continues to help coordinate the work of donors participating in the reconstruction programme. Particular support has been provided to UNHCR for its priority refugee return programme. The Bank has been able to mobilize substantial resources to rebuild houses in the UNHCR target zones and to implement job-creation programmes and other schemes for infrastructure development. Other agencies playing a key role with the World Bank in coordinating reconstruction are: FAO, UNESCO, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). These agencies lead reconstruction task forces set up by the World Bank covering agriculture, health, water and employment. The World Bank and UNDP have closely coordinated programmes, resulting in an excellent leverage of UNDP efforts.
World Food Programme
- The World Food Programme (WFP) has continued to implement its 1997 strategy for phasing down food aid, including the full reassessment of the beneficiary caseload in conjunction with the local authorities. It is building up a register of the vulnerable who are in need of humanitarian support and de-selecting those beneficiaries who are now able to support themselves and their families. In February, the beneficiary caseload was 1,780,002; by June this figure will have been reduced by 25 per cent to 1,337,817. Of this total, 320,004 people have been identified as most vulnerable and are receiving a higher ration. The assessment process is continuing and this figure will rise over the coming months. At the end of May, a WFP-led Joint Food Aid Needs Assessment Mission started visiting all parts of the country. This mission is assessing the need for continued food aid and reviewing the targeting approach.
- WFP has begun using food aid to support a number of small-scale, short-term socio-economic rehabilitation projects aimed at helping beneficiaries in the transition away from free food hand-outs by creating employment, supporting training and promoting self-sufficiency. In addition, WFP continues to support the milling industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Wheat grain donated by the United States of America is being processed at six mills and further donations of grain are expected from Canada and Italy. In May, WFP began a rehabilitation project at the Bihac Mill to repair war-damaged infrastructure and replace machinery.
World Health Organization
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has succeeded in re-establishing communications among health professionals from various communities in many areas. The reform and reconstruction of the health system also continues to progress, even in the face of reticence from the political authorities. In the Federation, a working draft of the Strategic Plan for Health System Reform is expected to be completed in June. In addition, the Republika Srpska's Strategic Plan for Health System Reform has been completed and will be presented shortly to the Republika Srpska Assembly for parliamentary approval.