The Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) has been engaged in Burundi since early 2007, following the holding of peaceful democratic elections in 2005, the country’s placement on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission in 2006, and the transition from a peacekeeping mission, ONUB, to an integrated mission, BINUB. The current phase of PBF support to Burundi aims to sustain UN political accompaniment in the pre-electoral period, electoral and post-electoral periods and to help address remaining political and social tensions.
Period and total funding in US$ of PBF support:
Became eligible for PBF support in 2006 by being placed on the Peacebuilding Commission agenda.
2007-2010: $40 million ($35 million PRF and $5 million IRF)
2011-2013: $9.2 million (PRF)
2014-2016: $12.54 million ($11.65 million PRF and $0.9 IRF)
Total = $61.75 million
Focus of PBF support:
- The first Fund tranche had the following priority four areas: (i) Governance and peace; (ii) rule of law and the security sector; (iii) justice, human rights and reconciliation; and (iv) land issues. It also provided emergency support to help transition the FLN into a political party.
- The second Fund tranche supported the sustainable socio-economic reintegration of the populations affected by the conflict (internally displaced, repatriated refugees and ex-combatants) in Burundi, in support of the Government’s Reintegration Programme. The focus of the support was in the provinces of Bujumbura Rural, Bubanza and Cibitoke – three north-western provinces at risk of relapse due to extreme poverty, inter-group tensions and cross-border movement between Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- The third Fund tranche addresses four strategic priorities: (a) political dialogue and social cohesion; (b) youth participation in political and social life; (c) democratic exercise of human rights; and (d) peaceful resolution of land disputes. The third Peacebuilding Priority Plan was approved in February 2014. In addition, the third tranche included fast start-up support for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, following the withdrawal of BNUB, to ensure its continued presence, including monitoring of and reporting on human rights in the electoral period, with the aim of deterring violations.
Overview of PBF support and results:
The PBF has provided quick targeted funding to Burundi to contribute to several critical drivers of peace – fostering open political dialogue, reform of the security forces, management of land conflicts for returning refugees, access to justice, and the formation of transitional justice mechanisms. It has filled critical funding gaps that other donors were not willing or able to fill, and even catalyzed funding by other donors for activities that they had previously deemed risky. It also strengthened the UN’s capacity, helping to make it an important and influential actor in Burundi and providing urgent support needed to help fulfill the Security Council mandates. It helped to improve the strained relationships between the UN and the Government, as well as between the civil society and GoB. It also built the capacity of most national, and some international, actors who were actively involved in the PBF projects, both in the Joint Steering Committee and in various project management teams.
Finalised in March 2014, the evaluation determined that, overall, the Fund had been a powerful tool through which the UN has implemented innovative peacebuilding programming at a time when no equivalent funding was available. At the same time, the evaluation found that some projects suffered from implementation weaknesses, which varied from lack of sufficient political grounding, to weak national buy-in or implementation capacity to inadequate monitoring.
Some of the key results of PBF support to date have included:
- An on-going dialogue on key challenges between the Government and key national stakeholders, including support to the agreement on the electoral road-map.
- Socio-economic reintegration of former FNL combatants, seen by many as having helped to avoid a return to an open conflict, including: strengthening of community social cohesion in targeted provinces through strengthening local associations, support to resolution of around 700 land disputes and provision of targeted livelihood support (including temporary employment to 1,775, training of over 2,300 vulnerable people in revenue earning skills, provision of materials for auto-construction of 1,000 houses and construction of 195 houses for the vulnerable families in Rural Peace Village.
- The creation of an Independent National Commission for Human Rights, and its continued capacity-building and, more recently, its decentralisation and reach into the provinces.
- The completion of the demobilization process for ex-FNL combatants, as well its transformation into a political party in 2009, including ending of the armed conflict, the restoration of security and the preparation of the 2010 elections. The PBF supported the dialogue facilitation efforts, and funded the demobilization of “adults associated with the movement” who were not part of the official demobilization program.
- The peaceful completion of the 2010 elections, despite the boycott by important political parties, including enabling the distribution of ballots, provision of ID cards to women and ensuring that high-quality ballots were distributed to all areas of the country.
- Support to the reintegration of the numerous ex-combatants and displaced people, many of whom had not received any financial support upon demobilization, and were returning to very impoverished communities in Bubanza, Cibitoke and Bujumbura Rural.
The third phase of the PBF is being programmed, although it has faced some delays, due in part to the UN Mission transition.
Quarterly reports for each project are available on the MPTF-O Gateway site