Definition of Youth

The youth law (2010) for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) defines youth as between 15-30 years, whereas the youth policy briefing (2011) notes that in Republika Srpska (RS), it is between 16-30 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • 16
  • --

  • Between 16-18 years, a special court procedure may grant permission for marriage. No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Homosexual acts legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA, UN Child Rights Periodic Report (2004)

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 99.66% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.64% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • --Male %
  • -- Female %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 16.30% Male (13-15) %
  • 10.50% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
A 2010 youth law exists, a national youth policy is under development. A 2011 briefing paper exists.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is made up of two political entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and Republika Srpska (RS).

The FBiH has a youth law (2010) that outlines legal protections and provisions for youth rights, youth work, and youth councils. The youth briefing (2011) notes that little action has resulted from the law in terms of a youth policy.

The RS has a youth policy 2010-2015 focusing on employment, housing, education, society, information, youth work, leisure, participation and culture. Laws on Volunteering and Youth Organization also exist.

The youth briefing notes that guidelines for a state level youth policy have been agreed, and according to the youth policy project report (2012), is being supported and coordinated by the European Union.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Department for Youth within the Ministry of Family, Youth & Sports has responsibility for youth in RS. The department is responsible for the implementation of the youth policy, youth participation, volunteering and cooperation between youth NGOs.

The Division for Youth within the Ministry of Culture and Sports has responsibility for youth with the FBiH and is responsible for the youth law (2010), coordination of federal and international youth programmes, participation, identifying youth needs and supporting the development of the federal youth strategy.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The youth briefing (2011) notes that “no Youth Council at the BiH level” exists, or at Federation level within the FBiH. However a number of municipal and local youth councils have been developed.

The RS youth policy notes the existence of a youth council, serving as an umbrella youth organisation across the region. However, it has no online presence.

The OSCE to BiH notes their support for the development of youth councils, and in a series of articles, the Institute for Youth Development describes the creation councils at the local level.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
According to the FBiH 2013 budget, the Ministry of Culture and Sports was allocated BAM 17.9 million (USD 12.7 million). It is unknown what allocation the Division for Youth received, or was spent on youth affairs.

The RS 2014 budget allocates BAM 6.9 million (USD 4.9 million) for the Ministry of Family, Youth & Sports. A number of budget lines refer to youth, including the allocation of BAM 294,000 (USD 208,626) for the “realization of the projects defined by Youth policy of Republika Srpska.”  It is unknown what allocation the Department for Youth received. The World Bank has not calculated spending on education as a percentage of government expenditure or GDP for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2000.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

The BBC Bosnia-Herecgovina profile (2014) details the past conflict:
Bosnia-Hercegovina is recovering from a devastating three-year war which accompanied the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
The 1992-1995 conflict centred on whether Bosnia should stay in the Yugoslav Federation, or whether it should become independent.
It is now an independent state, but under international administration. Its three main ethnic groups are Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Croats and Serbs. The war left Bosnia's infrastructure and economy in tatters. Around two million people - about half the population - were displaced.
It is considered one of the most corruption-prone states in Europe, mainly on account of the legacy of deep ethnic and political divisions left by the 1992-1995 war and by the country's complex administrative framework.
International administration, backed at first by Nato forces and later by a smaller European Union-led peacekeeping force, helped Bosnia to achieve a measure of stability.
But early in 2007 the International Crisis Group, a think tank, warned: "Bosnia remains unready for unguided ownership of its own future - ethnic nationalism remains too strong."
The 1995 Dayton peace accord, which ended the Bosnian war, set up two separate entities; a Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina, and the Bosnian Serb Republic, or Republika Srpska, each with its own president, government, parliament, police and other bodies.
Overarching these entities is a central Bosnian government and rotating presidency. In addition there exists the district of Brcko, a self-governing administrative unit established as a neutral area placed under joint Serb, Croat and Bosniak authority.
Dayton also established the Office of the High Representative (OHR). The Office's representative is the state's ultimate authority, responsible for implementation of Dayton and with the power to ''compel the entity governments to comply with the terms of the peace agreement and the state constitution''.
Critics of Dayton said the entities it created were too close to being states in their own right and that the arrangement reinforced separatism and nationalism at the expense of integration.
Negotiations to amend the existing constitution, established by Dayton in order to strengthen state institutions and transform the country into a non-ethnic parliamentary democracy, have so far failed to make much progress.