Today’s discussion and indeed the subsequent discussion in the General Assembly on February 6 are important occasions to highlight the importance of peacebuilding. We must maintain and if possible further increase the momentum behind our peacebuilding efforts. While our focus at all times must be on concrete results at the country level we are all also conscious of the importance of this endeavor for the UN and the international community as a whole.
Since entering office, the Government of Burundi has embarked on a series of planning and consultation processes in order to prepare development strategies to move Burundi from an emergency situation to a more normal pattern of development. These strategies include the Government’s Emergency Programme, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), the UN Common Action Plan and Joint Roadmap and the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). Finally I should also mention the establishment by the Government of Burundi of a joint Government – UN Peacebuilding Committee.
Thus, much is already being done at the country level. Burundi has made progress in consolidating peace. However the situation is still fragile and continued international support is needed.
The Peacebuilding Commission held two meetings on the situation in Burundi last fall. The Government of Burundi participated actively at Ministerial level on both occasions. I should like to thank the Government of Burundi for the very close cooperation extended to the PBC including myself during my visit to Bujumbura last fall.
The identification of priorities for peacebuilding and how to address them has been the focus of these two country specific meetings.
At the first country specific meeting three main critical peacebuilding challenges were identified in Burundi: promoting good governance; strengthening the rule of law and the security sector; and ensuring community recovery.
Based on these critical challenges a number of important peacebuilding priorities were identified;
- strengthening national dialogue;
- continued efforts to include women in peace consolidation;
- sustained political support from countries in the region;
- strengthening of the Government’s ability to deliver on basic services, inter alia, through budgetary support.
PBC’s engagement with Burundi is now entering a new phase. The PBC will in the near future finalize its work plan and commence work on an integrated approach to peacebuilding, clearly outlining Burundi’s commitments and the response to be provided by the international community in critical areas. At the same time we should continue to work with the Government to monitor progress in the critical areas already identified.
In this regard, I would like to welcome the decision by the Second Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes region to establish a regional follow-up mechanism to include a Conference Secretariat and to establish its offices in Bujumbura. I am sure that PBC would like to discuss how we can support peacebuilding also in this regional perspective.
On 29 January, the Secretary-General formally announced a Peacebuilding Fund country envelope of US$ 35 million for Burundi at the African Union Summit held in Addis Abeba.
I welcome this development. In the PBC we must now decide how we can build on this and achieve a catalytic effect. We recognize, of course, that funding through the PBF can only provide initial support. Much more will be needed.
Donor per capita assistance to Burundi remains low. The international community must support national efforts to address the priorities and gaps identified by the Government. The upcoming 15-16 March donors’ roundtable will provide an opportunity to respond to these challenges. The PBC would obviously like to take stock of this event and discuss how integrated peacebuilding efforts can complement the results of the roundtable.
Mr. President, let me make a brief national point of view.
We are humbled by the enormous challenges facing Burundi. The Norwegian Government is committed to doing what it can in order to achieve a durable peace and economic development. The visit to Burundi by Norway’s Minister of Development Cooperation last month laid the groundwork for a bilateral program in support of development and peacebuilding. Norway will in the near future establish an embassy in Bujumbura.
Mr. President, To sum up:
- successful peacebuilding will necessitate sustained political and material support in the years to come from all stakeholders - the UN system, the IFI’s, donors, civil society and regional actors.
- similarly continued national ownership will be key, based on an inclusive approach where all relevant segments of society can contribute.