Bosnia and Herzegovina Crisis Response Plan 2023 - 2024

Last updated: December 13 2022
Funding required
People Targeted

IOM Vision

IOM’s vision, in line with the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus, is to work through a whole-of-society and a whole-of-government approach to contribute to a safe, prosperous, and resilient Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) by addressing the humanitarian needs of transiting migrants while supporting longer-term solutions, peace and social cohesion. IOM will continue to support the government of BiH to effectively manage functioning migrant reception, protection, and other assistance to meet the challenges of an increasing number of migrants transiting the country and contribute to ensuring their dignity, safety, and security. Furthermore, IOM will work with communities and the government to build social cohesion, preparedness for disasters, and resilience to drivers of instability in order to address negative drivers of emigration and prevent displacement.

Save lives and respond to needs through humanitarian assistance and protection

Funding required
People Targeted
Entities Targeted
International migrant, Refugee
Primary target groups
Description of People and Entities Targeted

IOM will continue working with the UN, civil society, and state partners to provide support and assistance to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in host communities and those residing in temporary reception centres (TRCs). IOM will additionally be supporting and reinforcing the migration-related response capacities of key state, cantonal and local level institutions engaged in the migration response, namely the BiH Ministry of Security (including the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs), Ministries of Health, and local governments hosting migrants to address health and social vulnerabilities of migrants.

Camp coordination and camp management

As the lead agency for Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) in BiH, IOM provides technical support to state partners in the provision of assistance to migrants in irregular situations, both inside and outside of Temporary Reception Centers (TRCs), in close partnership with UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA, and other partners. IOM will:

  • Build and strengthen the capacity of state partners and other partners in CCCM, including protection, Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP), community engagement, and durable solutions for beneficiaries.
  • Actively expand AAP and community engagement mechanisms to strengthen migrants´ participation in camp governance.
  • Work with state partners to define long-term strategies for sustainable and state-led reception facilities, tailored to the profiles and needs of the persons accommodated, taking integration into local communities into account.
  • Support state partners to improve registration capacities, including through equipment and software, for the protection of sensitive registration and referrals to services.
  • Expand participatory decision-making processes of the TRC beneficiaries when establishing new or upgrading/reconstructing existing reception facilities or services.
  • Continue conducting camp coordination and camp management, service monitoring, ensuring minimum standards for camp management, ensuring protection for site population, and ensuring day-to-day engagement with site populations.
Funding required
Plan types

Shelter, settlements and non-food items

In agreement with the government and in line with the upcoming Migration and Asylum Strategy and Action Plan, the medium-term aim of IOM is the full transfer of shelter assistance to the government, while IOM would maintain a technical role in line with its mandate and expertise. With this aim, IOM will:

  • Continue supporting the government of BiH in running TRCs and basic services for migrants transiting the country and build the capacity of the Service for Foreigners' (SFA) for the more independent management of the TRCs daily operations to ensure that people have access to safe and dignified accommodation in all settings.
  • Improve the capacity of the SFA for more independent provision of protection and gender-sensitive reception and accommodation capacity in TRCs and other forms of accommodation.
  • Cover the daily running costs in TRCs inside towns, including utilities, WASH facilities, provision of culturally sensitive and healthy food, essential household items, hygiene kits, other non-food items, transport, amenities, etc.
  • Regularly assess the needs and living conditions and implement improvements as needed to guarantee safety, dignity, privacy, and a healthy environment for residents.
  • Advocate for individual accommodation solutions with ancillary services as an alternative to collective settings/camps. IOM will explore, assess, and where adequate and feasible implement viable alternatives such as private rental accommodation.
Funding required
Plan types


Considering the high level of vulnerability of migrants transiting the country, IOM seeks support to enhance protection mechanisms in BiH. To do this, IOM takes a dual approach. First, IOM aims to enhance cooperation with and strengthened capacity of the SFA and Border Police in identifying protection-sensitive services for migrants. Second, IOM aims to expand the scope of protection mechanisms, service availability, and coordination with key partners in the field. In order to do so, IOM will:

  • Strive to ensure the sustainability of protection mechanisms in BiH through capacity-building efforts by strengthening capacity and provision of continuous support to the SFA.
  • Provide support to SFA to strengthen their local capacities in displacement tracking and monitoring in the country, registration and analyzing migratory trends.
  • Provide direct protection in the form of early identification of vulnerable cases, especially those with serious medical conditions, potential victims of trafficking, and children at risk.
  • Referrals of vulnerable groups, including victims and survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), to relevant support and protection partners and institutions.
  • Improve the capacities of protection stakeholders to deliver protection services to migrants and asylum seekers.
  • Ensure that protection principles are respected throughout the spectrum of assistance provided in the TRCs.
Funding required
Plan types

Mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian response

IOM will strive to improve MHPSS services provided inside and outside of TRCs, increasing its availability to migrants, especially those in vulnerabilities categories. As such, IOM will:

  • Increase access to mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for migrants and asylum-seekers assisted in BiH.
  • Broaden mental health screening and early identification of vulnerable persons inside and outside of TRCs.
Funding required
Plan types

Direct health support

IOM will provide medical support, including referrals to medical centres, to migrants both inside the reception facilities and outside, for the duration of the transition to a model of health care supported by the state. Following the transition, IOM will ensure the availability of emergency services in the reception centres, first aid and basic health provision, and transportation services to healthcare centres. With this aim IOM will:

  • Advocate and support migrants’ right to equitable access to health and health services in the host communities;
  • Support a network of healthcare professionals in the reception facilities to provide medical services and referrals to healthcare centres based on need;
  • Ensure availability of emergency services and transport to emergency rooms in TRCs;
  • Ensure mobile health services for migrants staying outside the TRCs;
  • Sign contracts with health institutions for the provision of health care to migrants.
Funding required
Plan types
Temporary Reception Centre in Lipa. © IOM 2022
Temporary Reception Centre in Lipa. © IOM 2022

Address the drivers and longer term impacts of crises and displacement through investments in recovery and crisis prevention

Funding required
People Targeted
Entities Targeted
International migrant, Local population / community
Primary target groups
Description of People and Entities Targeted

IOM will support local communities with low or deteriorating social cohesion and increasing susceptibility to violent extremism, institutions dedicated to strengthening communities – including educational and social institutions, and civil society organizations (CSOs), in a comprehensive approach to improve community resilience to violent extremism and radicalization. IOM will directly support and work with youth, families, marginalized community members, religious, cultural, and education leaders, and individuals facing socioeconomic stressors through peacebuilding initiatives. IOM will build upon its existing social cohesion infrastructure to defuse tensions and combat xenophobia, notably through programming to strengthen the health and social services for the benefit of both migrants and host communities.

Community stabilization

IOM will assist the communities of return and the government of BiH to prepare for and have systems in place for the reintegration of BiH citizens returning from conflict zones in line with international standards. Given the complexities and political sensitivity related to the return and reintegration of returnees from conflict zones, a flexible and process-oriented approach, tailored to the specific needs, and in close cooperation with the responsible government authorities, is required.

Through its Community Engagement and Policing (CEP) programming. IOM will contribute to enhanced social cohesion in communities hosting migrants and enable a response to the migration situation that benefits people on the move and BiH citizens alike. By focusing on communities where facilities for migrants are either located or planned to be established, the intervention aims to be targeted and needs-based. IOM interventions in border areas will target complementary Humanitarian Development Peace Nexus pillars to facilitate cross-border movements through improving border governance and engaging with border communities, civil society and the security sector. Such engagement with border communities and law enforcement agencies is expected to contribute to conflict reduction, facilitate community inclusion, and stimulate the socio-economic development of border areas.

Specifically, IOM aims to:

  • Support the BiH government’s preparedness to reintegrate and rehabilitate BiH citizens returning from conflict zones.
  • Support receiving communities by building their resilience and by strengthening their capacities to play an active role in the reintegration of returnees from conflict zones.
  • Support interventions benefitting the host communities and creating opportunities for dialogue and intercultural exchange, such as improvements in public infrastructure, and cultural activities, to improve citizens’ perceptions and attitudes towards migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees.
  • Engage with the media and popular voices in local communities to foster more accurate and compassionate narratives on migrant issues in the public discourse.
  • Advocate with relevant government decision-makers at all levels, to improve public perceptions of migration, fight xenophobia, and enable constructive solutions to local communities challenges.

Furthermore, it is necessary to work on developing mechanisms that give migrants access to services that provide them with tools and capacities to integrate, in line with the opportunities that exist for regular pathways such as asylum seekers or victims of trafficking. IOM will:

  • Build the capacities of state and local authorities to enhance integration options as part of case management and assistance to vulnerable categories.
  • Focus on finding integration and regular pathways for migrants and asylum seekers in TRCs through access to legal aid, asylum registration, temporary protection, family reunification and other forms of status resolution, according to the BiH legal framework.
  • Work on the inclusion of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in host societies and integration of those eligible to stay, to combat discrimination, xenophobia and exclusion through policy and community initiatives.
  • Continue to provide advocacy for local host communities to continue to receive aid to cope with the increased pressures related to migrants’ presence.
  • Promote among donors and local partners the possibility to operate smaller centres or other residential units, spread across BiH, tailored to the needs of stranded migrants in need of long-term solutions.
Funding required
Plan types

Health system strengthening

Currently, health care for migrants is mainly provided by BiH medical institutions, with funding passing through partner organizations. In order to increase the sustainability of the migration response, in the long run, IOM aims to increase state ownership in health provision to migrants. The guiding principle in this area will be to align the health service provision system for migrants to country standards and norms and to secure greater ownership of the model by the health authorities.  

The funded public health facilities will be the primary health providers in TRCs and referrals will be provided to secondary healthcare for those in need of a higher level of clinical care.

IOM medical teams will act as a liaison point between camp administration, healthcare practitioners engaged in TRCs and IOM management to ensure that health provision is fully integrated into the overall management of TRCs. IOM will:

  • Support the provision of migrants with access to health care in the transition period to a state-led health system for migrants transiting BiH.
  • Liaise with the state and health authorities to set up the necessary policy and contractual frameworks needed to complete the transition to a state-led health system for migrants.
  • Capacitate health service providers to deliver migrant-sensitive health services, taking into consideration socio-cultural and economic differences and sensitivities, gender, language and ethnic diversities.
  • Increase ownership of local public health facilities to provide medical assistance to migrants through the public health insurance system, on par with insured citizens, through a public insurance mechanism for migrants transiting BiH.
Funding required
Plan types

Peacebuilding and peace preservation

IOM will contribute to multi-stakeholders efforts to increase community resilience to destabilizing phenomena, including extremism and climate change as medium-term threats to peace and stability. This initiative will aim to increase resilience to extremism, improve social cohesion in local communities, organize community-building activities, and promote active and critical thinking in youth and adults to build stronger communities.

IOM will also work with youth to increase adaptiveness to climate change, which is increasingly being seen as a key topic for the future of the country with implications for peacebuilding efforts. IOM will bolster youth activism and leadership for enhanced civic and political engagement, strengthen voices and actors that promote inclusive narratives and expand youth participation in decision-making processes for issues that impact them and their communities.  

With these aims, IOM will:

  • Support local civil society, youth, and communities to increase civic engagement for positive change in their communities.
  • Support local civil society, youth, and communities to produce and disseminate positive media content as an alternative to divisive and violent extremist media content.
  • Establish community liaison points in the new target communities to act as a network of young leaders interlinking all target communities and facilitating activities inside those communities.
  • Enable more community members, youth and adults, to engage in building active community networks that link local CSOs, academia, youth groups, etc. to jointly work towards resilient communities that are more adapted to climate change and other drivers of instability.
  • Adapt and embed the methodology to counter harmful male-gendered traits, including misogyny and emotional repression, and other drivers of violent extremism at the psychosocial level into appropriate local institutions.
  • Build capacities of key institutions to act as multipliers of PVE efforts, ensuring community cohesion which contributes to long-run resilience.
Funding required
Plan types

Mental health and psychosocial support: dialogue and social cohesion towards recovery and crisis prevention

By working with partners and key stakeholders, IOM will aim to improve community resilience by ensuring the strengthened provision of mental health and psychosocial services to vulnerable groups in these communities. In close coordination with governments, international organizations and civil society, IOM will improve the availability and quality of psychosocial support at the community level by supporting service providers through capacity building and strategic partnerships. IOM will seek to:

  • Raise awareness of vulnerable communities on the importance of individual and collective mental health and psychosocial wellbeing as cornerstones of social cohesion, development and community wellbeing.
  • Work with local civil society partners to improve the community-based provision of MHPSS services and to disseminate knowledge and best practices to the community.
  • Support Mental Health Centres to improve MHPSS service availability, for example through capacity building of the Centres’ staff on collective forms of MHPSS, which is often underutilized in BiH.
Funding required
Plan types

Strengthen preparedness and reduce disaster risk

Funding required
People Targeted
Entities Targeted
Local population / community
Primary target groups
Description of People and Entities Targeted

IOM aims to make local communities more resilient to disasters, with a whole-of-society approach.

With this aim, IOM will work in close coordination with the Ministry of Security (MoS) at the national level, with district-level civil protection authorities and responders. Additionally, at the local level, IOM will seek out the participation of local community leaders, both men and women, as key to the successful engagement of local communities.

First responders will be the main beneficiaries of IOM’s efforts, including official responders such as the Civil Protection Administrations, Public Safety Departments, Red Cross chapters and societies, and also professional and volunteer civil protection organizations.

Disaster prevention

IOM aims to strengthen the preparedness and response to disasters among local communities and key stakeholders. In this regard, IOM will use a people-centred approach to improve the safety, security and well-being of people in disaster-prone areas, and advance preparedness and risk reduction efforts of stakeholders in the context of addressing the health dimensions of disasters. IOM will advance a comprehensive risk management approach, which takes a climate change-sensitive approach to all preparedness initiatives, in line with the Sendai Framework on  Disaster Risk Reduction. This effort will be closely coordinated at all levels of government, including at the local level, and seek out the participation of local community leaders, both men and women, to successfully engage with local communities. Specifically, IOM will:

  • Deliver CCCM trainings in municipalities/cities.
  • Pre-positioning and transfer of essential equipment for increasing preparedness and responding to immediate rescue and shelter needs in crises to relevant government actors.
  • Support the establishment of mechanisms for equipment sharing between municipalities.
  • Support the government in lessening the adverse impacts of disasters through various disaster mitigation practices, including improved early warning systems, preparedness and pre-positioning and risk reduction.
  • Build capacities of civil protection practitioners through disaster response CCCM simulation exercises.
  • Support civic engagement and participatory DRR activities supported in target municipalities/cities.
  • Organize the exchange of good practices and experiences in Disaster Risk Reduction between regional partners, targeted EU Member States and the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
  • Strengthen the public health capacities to respond to health dimensions of disasters.
  • Build capacities and knowledge of stakeholders on understanding better risks, potential and actual losses to disasters, and measure disaster displacement, in line with the Sendai Framework.
Funding required
Plan types

Contribute to an Evidence Based and Efficient Crisis Response System

Funding required
At risk communities
People Targeted
Entities Targeted
International migrant, Local population / community, Refugee
Primary target groups
Description of People and Entities Targeted

IOM's Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) teams will collect data in reception centres and other locations where migrants gather or live, to provide relevant authorities and other key humanitarian stakeholders with timely information on migration flows, trends, needs and intentions to ensure an effective, coherent, and evidenced migration response. The data from these surveys inform protection and MHPSS assistance, shelter, food, and CCCM assistance, as it provides a statistical overview of the changing vulnerabilities, demographics and other variables quickly and reliably.

Displacement tracking

The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) aims to improve the access of national institutions, civil society, and humanitarian responders to accurate, up-to-date data and knowledge on migrants arriving to, and present, in BiH. IOM will collect information on the migrants’ demographics, including countries of origin as well as transit areas, detailed information on specific vulnerabilities, socioeconomic circumstances, routes and further movement intentions, among other topics. Following data analysis, reports will be disseminated to stakeholders and used as guidance for knowledge-based policy, and technical and capacity-building support. Part of the data will also be made publicly available on the DTM website, when in line with IOM data policies. Specifically, IOM will:

  • Enumerators collect data in the filed through anonymous questionnaires on demographics, circumstances of their journey, intended country of destination, abuse and exploitation risk factors, and return intentions.
  • Provide regular and systematic data on migrants inside and outside of formal reception centres in BiH to the State, partners and other stakeholders.
  • Issue analytical reports on statistical trends and projections.
  • Maintain databases with collected data and dashboards presenting the data to the wider public.
  • Set up an early information system on likely changes in the number of arrivals to be expected, by integrating data from Turkey to the Western Balkans to enable a planned and orderly response, resource mobilization and pre-positioning.
  • Demographic and vulnerability information collected will be used to inform the migration response to adapt to changes in trends and needs of the beneficiaries.
Funding required
Plan types
Operational presence in

Bosnia and Herzegovina

International staff and affiliated work force
National staff and affiliated work force
IOM field office

The map used here is for illustration purposes only. Names and boundaries do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by IOM.

Figures are as of 31 December 2022. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.

With thanks to our current donors