Peacebuilding in Burundi: Progress and Challenges

10/24/2008 // Norwegian Ambassador and  Chair of the Burundi Specific Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, Johan L. Løvald, emphasized the progress that has been made and the challenges ahead as the Security Council debated the report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its first session. 

 Mr. President,

Since the debate on peacebuilding that the Security Council had in January the Peacebuilding Commission has made considerable progress as pointed out in the Annual report, including in its Burundi specific configuration, which I have the pleasure of chairing.

Bearing in mind the Security Council’s original request for advice on Burundi, I would like to focus my intervention on the progress made and the challenges ahead in the Peacebuilding Commission’s work with Burundi.

Firstly, I should like to emphasise the importance of national ownership and commend the Government and people of Burundi for their active and constructive cooperation in peace consolidation.

Based on this cooperation the Peacebuilding Commission has been able to identify priorities for peacebuilding and how to address them. Not least through the development of the Strategic Framework for peacebuilding in Burundi which was a significant achievement. The consultative process in Burundi during the development of the Strategic Framework was appreciated, and we encourage the continued and open dialogue between all stakeholders in the country.

Secondly, while we so far have focused on peacebuilding priorities, we are now in this second year of work shifting our focus to how to deal with these priorities. We are now in the process of setting up a Monitoring and Tracking Mechanism for the Strategic Framework.  In other words, we are moving from identification to implementation.

We hope to finalise work on this mechanism in the near future. It will crucial in our efforts to make sure that consolidation of peace actually happens. Again, the Government carries a specially responsibility. But so do other stakeholders as well. Resource mobilisation will be a crucial element in this regard. The present precarious budgetary situation in Burundi bears strong testimony to this.

Thirdly, also in the case of Burundi there is no development without security and no security without development. As regards the security situation I wish to draw the Council’s attention to the Conclusions and Recommendations on Peacebuilding in Burundi forwarded to the President of the Security Council in my letter dated 20 September 2007.

The Conclusions and Recommendations addressed some of the key challenges facing the country at this time, including the implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement between the Government of Burundi and PALIPEHUTU-FNL. A specific recommendation was given to the Government of Burundi to continue to explore all ways to resolve its differences with leaders of the PALIPEHUTU-FNL.

A specific recommendation was also given to PALIPEHUTU-FNL  - “to resume promptly without condition its participation in the work of the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism and constructively re-engage with the Government with a view to resolve differences”.

This is an issue that is still a matter of concern.

I recall that the Peacebuilding Commission in the recommendation to the Security Council asked the Council “to continue to closely monitor the situation in Burundi, in particular with respect to the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement and to consider, if necessary, undertaking appropriate action with a view to the effective implementation of the ceasefire agreement by the set deadline”.

The Regional Initiative and the South African facilitator are working actively to facilitate dialogue among the parties and to bring PALIPEHUTU-FNL back to the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM). Their efforts need our support.

I would therefore wish to reiterate the call on the Security Council to address this issue and take concrete measures as the Security Council might see fit, with a view to contributing to the resolution of this outstanding issue.

The importance of the resolution of this issue cannot be emphasised enough. The people of Burundi deserve peace so that other pressing issues in terms of political stabilisation and economic development can be achieved. The Security Council’s concrete contribution to the achievement of this objective would be timely and invaluable.

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