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, dialogue led by the UN Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Burundi, and local dialogue initiatives through the civil society and through local women mediators and women groups, as well as positive engagement of youth in social cohesion, community security and activities to address trauma and conflict. Moreover, for the first time in its history, PBF has approved funding directly to the African Union Commission to bridge the gap in funding of its human rights observers in Burundi and to strengthen its daily cooperation with the UN Office for High Commissioner for Human Rights.
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: $15.8 million ($11.6 million PRF and $4.2 IRF)
Total = $65 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 remained unprogrammed for a long time due to the changing context in Burundi and the situation around the elections, as well as the changes to the UN structure and composition which affected its programming capacity. This allocation was re-considered by the Joint Steering Committee in March 2016, which led to a new round of programming. The Priority Plan was also extended to June 2017. 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, including through inclusion of women in regional and international dialogue fora.||December 2014 – March 2017||$1.2 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-135: Renforcement du monitoring, de la production de rapports de la cooperation technique du HCNUDH au Burundi||Building on PBF/IRF-100, which provided emerging bridging capacity support to the OHCHR in Burundi, following withdrawal of BNUB, this project provides OHCHR with surge capacity to enable it to undertake additional human rights observation and reporting in the tense post-electoral period, while also enabling it to work more closely with the African Union human rights observers and to provide them with training and other support.||February 2016 – September 2016||$0.9 million||OHCHR|
|PBF/BDI/A-13: Appui a la promotion du dialogue national||This project aims to facilitate continued national and local level dialogue between political parties, political actors, other key political stakeholders especially 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 – September 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|
|PBF/IRF-139: African Union Human Rights observers support in Burundi
||This project enables 32 African Union human rights observers to undertake their responsibilities of observing, monitoring and documenting human rights violations, including in Bujumbura and other areas of the country and, where possible of refugees, for a bridging period of 6 months, in response to the decision by the AU Peace and Security Council.||April 2016 – October 2016||$2.3 million||African Union Commission|
|PBF/BDI/D-2: Appui a la securite communautaire et la cohesion sociale aupres des jeunes touches par les conflits||This project works with selected youth in the area os Bujumbura to help improve social cohesion and community security through positive engagement of youth and targeted socio-economic opportunities.||May 2016 – May 2017||$1.5 million||UNDP, UNV, UNFPA|
|PBF/BDI/D-1: Consolidation des acquis de la paix par les theatres axes sur les valeurs UBUNTU||This projects works with children and youth in identified provinces of Burundi to increase their peace values, give them opportunity to discuss and resolve difficult issues and to positively change their attitudes and behaviour through psycho-social support and interactive theatre. It is implemented through the Ubuntu Foundation.||May 2016 – May 2017||$0.5 million||UNICEF|
|PBF/BDI/A-14: Fonds de soutien au dialogue pour une resolution de la crise au Burundi||The project aims to create an environment conducive to resolving the current crisis in Burundi through supporting international and regional dialogue processes, working closely with the East African Community and the African Union.||May 2016 – May 2017||$1 million||UNOPS & DPA (Office of Special Adviser on Burundi)|
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, PBF programs have been oriented to support human rights, dialogue initiatives and some targeted support to the youth with a focus on community security, peace education, socio-economic support and psycho-social assistance. Moreover, following the decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council to increase its human rights presence in Burundi and faced with a funding gap, PBF made its first ever direct funding approval to a regional organization. This support, coupled with additional PBF financing to OHCHR, is also enabling closer cooperation between the UN and the AU on human rights in Burundi. All the current PBF programs are of high risk and will need regular monitoring and re-assessment.
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.
- More recent projects are still in implementation, with several of those only recently approved. They are contributing to greater human rights’ monitoring and advocacy with the Government, the extension of the national human rights’ commission’s reach in the provinces, the continued formal and informal engagement between the focal points of 15 key political parties (including those who did not participate in the 2015 elections) and significant local level progress made in conflict prevention and resolution through a network of over 500 women mediators.
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 5,000 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.
- PBF evaluation 2010
- PBF evaluation 2014
- Third Peacebuilding Priority Plan and PBSO approval letter
- Amendment to the Third Peacebuilding Priority Plan 2016
Quarterly reports for each project are available on the MPTF-O Gateway site