Project Factsheet
Tools for » Closing the Chapter: Social Inclusion and Conflict Transformation in War-Affected Areas of Croatia
Project ID:00067230Description:MDGF-1975-F-HRV Closing the Ch
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 31 Dec 2008
MDGF Conflict Prev Peacebld
End Date*: 13 May 2011
Country: Croatia Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


Under the MDG Achievement Fund’s Thematic Window for Conflict Prevention and Peace Building, four participating agencies in Croatia’s UN Country Team implemented the joint programme entitled “Closing the Chapter: Social Inclusion and Conflict Transformation in War-Affected Areas of Croatia” from 15 May 2009 to 14 May 2011. The UN Programme set out to tackle the endemic social, economic and political exclusion of returnees, minorities, veterans and economically-disempowered women whose marginalization most jeopardizes peaceful coexistence and sustainable return, and risks cementing the emergence of ‘Two Croatias’; one relatively well off, vibrant and Euro-centric; the other home to the poor disempowered and excluded.

The Programme employed a ‘root cause’ methodology that pioneers the integration of a community decision-making methodology into the socio-economic recovery of war-affected areas through shared needs/ interest projects. This methodology introduced peace-building mechanisms into existing local structures that provide social services, education, community policing, justice, and stimulate job creation. The Joint Programme was nationally owned at all levels and coordination was institutionalized by the Vice Prime Minister for Return, Reconstruction and Regional Development, and supported by a joint programme implementation unit.


Outcome 1:

National policy coordination on conflict prevention, reconciliation and recovery strengthened

Outcome achievements:

  • This outcome would primarily be achieved by providing support to the Vice Prime Minister’s office to organize quarterly coordination meetings among government institutions providing support and social-services to the ASSCs. Rule of Law activities, namely UNHCR’s support to free legal aid and UNDP’s witness victim support, were included. In spite of a setback due to Cabinet changes, sustainable improvements to access to justice represented by the completion of the UNHCR free legal aid output and UNDP WVS output were accomplished.


Outcome 2:

Enhanced community integration, safety and social cohesion

Outcome achievements:

  • Under UNDP’s component, a total of 10 safe-community plans were developed by local crime prevention councils and implemented. Four studies, 12 workshops for war veteran’s associations and 10 trainings and workshops for women’s NGOs were completed by IOM.
  • UNICEF’s violence free schools initiatives taught youth the necessary skills to prevent conflict and violence. In total, 25 schools and communities were engaged resulting in 14 new schools in the ASSC and 157 schools nationwide adopting violence prevention standards and 14 new schools from the ASSC joining the National Network of Violence-free schools.
  • UNHCR’s organized two 4-day peace building forums and 3 leadership trainings for participants from the 20 targeted communities. 20 small-scale development projects were implemented. 


Outcome 3:

Enhanced socio-economic recovery of areas of Special State Concern

Outcome achievements:

  • 5 out of 8 planned trainings for local authorities, communities and regional development agencies in project development management implementation and fundraising for EU funds were organized. The trainings also targeted individuals involved in implementing or benefitting from other MDG-F activities. The initial target was not met due to increased costs and reduced parallel funding. The trainings benefitted 46 men and 35 women from 23 national institutions and 39 local institutions including NGOs, county and municipal administrations and the private sector. The vast majority of beneficiaries expressed satisfaction and ranked the training as high quality. UNHCR worked with County Social Services and the Croatian Red Cross to provide immediate support and provisions of services to refugees, returnees and vulnerable populations in remote areas of the ASSC in order to include them in the national social protection schemes. An estimated 12,000 beneficiaries received assistance through the Croatian Red Cross mobile teams. Working jointly with the line ministry, UNHCR organized County Social Planning exercises in 4 counties in the ASSC with high rates of returns and poor social infrastructure. County Plans were delivered for 2011- 2014 to ensure sustainability.
  • 50 cooperatives, associations and family farms in the ASSC improved their business processes and access to market and 10 micro-projects were implemented to improve business and community infrastructure.
  • 12 new infrastructure sub-projects were implemented in conflict affected communities. 13 sets of technical documentation and preparatory documents for infrastructure project proposals were developed in order to enable local communities, municipalities and counties in the ASSC to apply for additional funding.


Lessons learned:

  • Indicators (e.g. successful applications for EU funds, reduced unemployment and increased absorption of EU funds in the ASSCs) to measure the programme’s effectiveness in outcome 3 will only be seen in the next year or two after the programme’s closure when decisions on project proposals to the EU are made. Furthermore, the economic crisis made it unlikely that employment would improve during the programme cycle, but it is hoped that the seeds were sown to enable improved employment in the ASSCs once the Croatian economy begins to grow again. Despite the limitations in available data and the challenges caused by the global economic downturn, the joint programme and government partners feel the objectives of this outcome were fully achieved.


More details can be found in the final project report:

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Croatia or the lead agency for the programme.

The persons with GATEWAY access rights to upload and maintain documents for the programme:

  • Nina Bakic, Finance/Budget Associate; Telephone: +385 1 2361631; Email:
  • Hans Risser, Programme Manager; Telephone: +385 1 23 61 647; Email:; Skype: hansrisser
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