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 was approved in early 2014 with a view to sustaining UN political accompaniment following the withdrawal of the UN political mission, BNUB and with a specific focus on supporting dialogue and stability in the pre-electoral period, electoral and post-electoral periods. Following the tensions around the elections, PBF support is focussing on supporting human rights’ observation and national capacities, and dialogue through the civil society and through local women mediators, while waiting for further developments to shape the remainder of potential PBF support from the 2014 allocation.
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 four priority 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 was intended to address four strategic priorities, as follows: (a) political dialogue and social cohesion; (b) positive youth participation in political and social life; (c) democratic exercise of human rights; and (d) peaceful resolution of land disputes. 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, which ensured its continued and uninterrupted presence at a crucial moment, including monitoring of and reporting on human rights in the electoral period. The third Peacebuilding Priority Plan was approved in February 2014, however to date (as of October 2015), about half of that allocation remains unprogrammed and is awaiting further clarification of the political and peacebuilding situation in the new context. Below is a table with current projects.
|Project name/ ID||One sentence explaining focus||Period||Budget||RUNOs|
|PBF/BDI/A-10: Appui a la promotion et a la protection des droits de l’Homme au Burundi||The project focuses on strengthening the capacity of the national Human Rights Commission, Burundi’s international human rights reporting obligations, and human rights defenders.||August 2014 – March 2017||$2 million||OHCHR, UNDP|
|PBF/BDI/A-11: Promotion du role de la femme dans la consolidation de la paix||The project supports women mediators in communities to help prevent conflicts from escalating, and to increase the role of women in Burundi’s political life and dialogue.||December 2014 – March 2017||$0.7 million||UN Women|
|PBF/BDI/A-12:Renforcement de la reponse en matiere de lute contre les violences sexuelles et basees sur le genre au Burundi||This project aims to strengthen the legal and judicial response to sexual and gender-based violence as well as to raise awareness and change community behaviour with regards to this kind of violence.||December 2014 – March 2017||$0.5 million||UN Women|
|PBF/IRF-100: OHCHR Monitoring and reporting in Burundi||This project has provided emerging bridging capacity support to the OHCHR in Burundi, following withdrawal of BNUB, to enable it to do human rights observation and reporting in the electoral period.||December 2014-September 2015||$0.9 million||OHCHR|
|PBF/BDI/A-13: Appui a la promotion du dialogue national||This project aims to facilitate dialogue between political parties, political actors, other key political stakeholders 9especially youth) and to provide a chance to the Burundian public to hear from their representatives and to be involved in the political debate. It is implemented through three CSO partners: BLTP/NIMD, ACCORD and Initiatives et Changements.||March 2015 – June 2016||$1.24 million||UNDP, UNESCO|
|PBF/BDI/H-1: Appui a la coordination, au suivi et a l’evaluation de la mise en oeuvre du Plan Prioritaire de Consolidation de la Paix||This project provides the PBF Secretariat as a focal point for PBF in Burundi and as a support to the Joint Steering Committee. It also assures monitoring of the Peacebuilding Priority Plan implementation.||October 2014 – March 2017||$0.9 million||UNDP|
Overview of PBF support and results:
The year 2015 has been a turbulent one for Burundi, with a number of worrying developments, including a failed attempt at a coup d’etat in May. The 2015 electoral process was boycotted by the opposition, following the declaration of candidature by President Nkurunziza, which some have seen as an unconstitutional third term, but which was endorsed by the Constitutional Court of Burundi. The electoral process itself was characterized by violence and a deterioration of some political freedoms and was not considered by the international community to have been free and fair. At the humanitarian level, the mounting tensions and election related violence resulted in significant internal displacement and a large number of Burundian refugees in the neighbouring countries. The security situation continues to be problematic with a number of political assassinations of figures from the ruling party and the opposition, gunfire in the capital at night, violent confrontations with the police, discovery of new corpses on a regular basis, and a proliferation of weapons. Some of Burundi’s international partners have suspended some of their programs or announced targeted sanctions against specific individuals. International attempts to reinvigorate an inclusive dialogue process in Burundi, through the East African Community and the United Nations, have not borne fruit so far.
In this uncertain context and with the UN Elections Observation Mission (MENUB) due to withdraw in 2015, some of the PBF programs are currently uncertain. The UN is following the situation closely and the PBSO is also looking at how the third Peacebuilding Priority Plan may need to be adjusted and what effect this will have on any unprogrammed funds.
Yet Burundi remains one of the largest recipients of PBF funding allocations to date and remains an important partner to PBF. Indeed, over the last seven years, 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. In the post Arusha period, PBF 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 the Government. 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, in the period 2007-2013 the Fund had been a powerful tool through which the UN 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 major results of PBF support in the period 2007 to 2013 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.
Key Recent Result:
While the elections-related political crisis brought the country to the brink of wide-scale conflict in the first half of 2015, a network of PBF-sponsored women mediators has not only adapted to the increased political and security risks but has stepped in to provide critical dialogue and mediation support between protesters and authorities. The network includes 516 mediators across the 129 municipalities and 17 provinces of the country. Since the outbreak of the political crisis to July 2015, this network helped to defuse more than 2,500 localised conflicts. For example in May 2015, in Mugongo Manga municipality, tensions ran high when police detained and threatened to shoot protesters who blocked the main road to Bujumbura. After three hours of negotiation, mediators reached an agreement in which protesters opened the road in exchange for the release of ten protesters held by police. In addition to actions such as this, mediators have extensively worked on initiating dialogue between members of opposing political parties and on promoting political tolerance to diffuse conflicts.
Quarterly reports for each project are available on the MPTF-O Gateway site