The Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (from now on: the Association) is an independent organization of voluntarily associated municipalities and cities in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina founded to develop local self-government and promote and protect their common interests.
Association, as a non-governmental and non-profit organization, was created by the Association of municipalities and cities in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the founding Assembly on May 29, 2002. in Mostar. The document on the establishment of the Federal Association was signed by 54 members and jointly adopted the Statute of the newly founded Association. It is a legal successor of the Community of Municipalities and Cities of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, established in 1972 to improve and develop the local self-government system, protect local communities' interests, and build inter-city and international cooperation.
In Gradačac, 22.03.2007, 2nd session of the Assembly of the Association was held, where the new Statute of the Association was adopted, and new bodies were elected. On that occasion, another 29 municipalities joined the Association. The following year another city joined, so since 2008, the Association has 79 members out of 80 local self-government units in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (five municipalities have legally ceased to exist: Mostar Stari Grad, Mostar North, Mostar South, Mostar West, and Mostar Southwest).
The VII session of the Assembly of the Association was held on February 6 and 7, 2013. in Fojnica, the Municipality of Kreševo was accepted as a member of the Association, so today, all local self-government units of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina are members of the Association.
From the international legal aspect, three key events traced new perspectives of the Community (Association), namely:
- Ratification of the European Charter on Local Self-Government, October 1994 (Government of RBiH)
- Admission of the Community of Municipalities and Cities of RBiH to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) in the position of a special guest (November 1994)
- Admission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council of Europe (April 2002)
Free exchange of experiences and opinions, promotion of common interests, participation in consultations for the adoption of regulations, protection of common interests, and cooperation with national and international associations, organizations, and government institutions are achieved within the framework of the Association.
As an independent and legitimate representative of local self-government units, the Association represents and protects the common interests of its members, provides services that will improve their capacities, as well as the social and economic development of local communities, all following the principles of the European Charter on Local Self-Government.
Strong, modern, and developed local self-government in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and BiH, capable of fulfilling its obligations and applying European values.
- Institutional lobbying and representation of common interests of its members at all levels of government;
- Development of new and strengthening of existing services for local self-government members/units
- Improvement of the legislation that regulates the work of local self-government units;
- Provision of legal and financial advisory services for members;
- Training of elected officials and employees in the bodies of local self-government units;
- Implementation of projects;
- Establishing and maintaining regional and international cooperation through national associations of local authorities, as well as their umbrella associations;
- Development of a platform for the exchange of knowledge and good practices.
In addition to legal and financial consultancy, the Professional Service of AMC FBiH can also provide help and advice in other areas, such as strategic planning and development management (miPRO methodology) and transparent financing of civil society organizations (LOD methodology).
The Association closely cooperates with international organizations on developing and implementing projects that are of interest to LGUs and aimed at improving the provision of services to citizens.
Municipalities and cities in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina can only achieve their interests at the federal and state level with quality and success through joint action and advocacy. The purpose of the Association, as a representative of the municipalities and cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is to represent and represent those interests in the best possible way.
The Association was registered on October 2, 2003, in the Register of Associations at the Federal Ministry of Justice.
According to the Law on the Principles of Local Self-Government in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which entered into force on September 8, 2006. year, Article 51 regulates the competencies of the Association, thus:
To protect common interests and promote and improve local self-government, cities and municipalities can form Association at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Association at the level of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has the right to:
- act as a legal representative of its members before the authorities in FBiH;
- prepare draft laws and amendments to draft laws to improve the laws and regulations that regulate the work of local self-government units;
- to give opinions and proposals regarding the distribution of public revenues in part related to the financing of local self-government units;
- establish contacts and cooperation with similar organizations in the country and abroad and become a member of international associations;
- perform other functions following the Statute.
Article 56 of the same Law states:
Federal and cantonal authorities must consult local self-government units to the greatest extent possible in adopting regulations that directly concern them.
The federal and cantonal authorities consult in the previous paragraph of this article through the Association of municipalities and cities.
Article 19 stipulates that in the event of a dispute over the adopted budget, by this Law, it is possible to seek arbitration whose body "... will be composed of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Cantonal Ministry of Finance, the municipal council and the municipal mayor, an independent expert in the field of finance and representative of the Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina".
Article 34 prescribes the legislator's obligation to obtain "... an opinion from the Association of Municipalities and Cities on all issues related to the allocation of funds, as well as on all changes in the law that may affect the financial obligations of local self-government units", which represents the transfer of provisions from the European charters that obligate higher authorities to consult local authorities on all matters relating to them.
Constitution of The Federation of BiH
Amendment 96 to the FBiH Constitution from 2004 allowed the Association to initiate proceedings before the Constitutional Court to protect the right to local self-government, which the Federation has used on several occasions.
In Article IV.C.10. after paragraph (2), a new paragraph (3) is added, which reads:
"(3) Protection of the right to local self-government is ensured by the Constitutional Court. Such proceedings before the Constitutional Court can be initiated by municipalities and cities, as well as associations of municipalities and cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Constitutional Court decides on disputes between local self-government units and cantons or the Federation upon request of the municipal or city council, the head of the municipality or the mayor of the city, or the association of municipalities and cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
According to the European Charter on Local Self-Government, in Article 10, local authorities are given the right to association, so it says: Local authorities have the right to cooperate in performing their duties and, following the law, to associate with other local authorities to perform tasks of common interest. Each country must recognize the right of local authorities to belong to an association for the protection and promotion of their common interests and to belong to an international association of local authorities.
According to the Decision on the Development Strategy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2021 - 2027 ("Official Gazette of FBiH," no. 74/18), local self-government units express and represent their interests in the process of developing the FBiH Development Strategy through the Association of Municipalities and Cities Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.