The census planned for April looks likely to be postponed to October on the advice of the international advisory body.Bosnia’s state government told the Statistics Agency on January 17 to prepare changes to the census law in line with the recommendations of the International Monitoring Operation, IMO, the body tasked with overseeing the census preparations, and which has suggested moving the count from April to October.
The Statistics Agency is tasked with drawing up an action plan for all activities and deadlines in connection with the historic census, the first since the 1992-95 war.
“The need to solve open questions over unharmonized laws, undetermined entity lines and lack of a unique register of census areas was emphasized,” the government said, referring to the IMO’s advice, noting also that financing the census is another unsolved issue.
The IMO advised Bosnian authorities in December to postpone the headcount on the grounds that the country is insufficiently prepared.
The EU delegation to Bosnia has agreed that Bosnia needs more time to ensure proper preparation for the census, avoid unreliable figures and improve coordination between all statistical agencies in the country.
Bosnia held a test census in October last year and planned the landmark nationwide count for this spring.
The last census was in 1991, just before the outbreak of the 1992-5 war, and the upcoming census is seen as significant, as it will likely reveal major postwar demographic changes that have taken place as a result of the conflict.
The 1991 census recorded a population of 4.4 million people. Bosniaks [Muslims] made up 43.5 per cent, Serbs 31.2 per cent and Croats 17.4 per cent. Another 5.5 declared themselves as Yugoslavs.
The United Nations estimates that Bosnia and Herzegovina today is home to only 3.8 million people.