13 September 2007 Intensified efforts are crucial to consolidate peace in Burundi and thwart a relapse into violence and chaos, the leader of a United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) fact-finding mission to the small Central African nation, which suffered decades of ethnic conflict pitting the Hutu majority against the Tutsi minority, said today.
Ambassador Johan L. Løvald, Permanent Representative of Norway, visited Burundi for the fourth time in less than a year from 5-7 September on behalf of the PBC, which was created to prevent countries emerging from civil war and other conflicts from sliding back into bloodshed.
He told reporters in New York that his latest mission had three objectives: to see first-hand the political and security situation, to identify how the PBC’s work can aid both national and regional groups; and to meet with Government officials and others on a strategic framework devised by the Burundian Government in May to mobilize financial and political support to overcome the internal challenges threatening the country’s long-term recovery.
Mr. Løvald voiced concern that there is a “general sense of uncertainty” on issues including the deadlock in the country’s Parliament, a troubling budgetary situation and the suspension of the work of the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism of the 2006 ceasefire between the Government and the Palipehutu- FNL.
“However, I left Bujumbura with a sense that the Government and national partners are determined to deal with the issues that are causing the current political crisis, with the support of the international community,” the Ambassador noted.
Established in 2005 by parallel General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, the PBC focuses on reconstruction, institution-building and the promotion of sustainable development in post-conflict countries.
The 31-member body, which operates in conjunction with several of the UN’s principal organs – namely the GA, the Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) – also recognizes the importance of individual countries spearheading efforts to consolidate peace within their own borders.
Burundi, which has been the victim of violent coups and political instability since gaining independence in 1962, was the first country to receive financial support from the Peacebuilding Fund, established from voluntary contributions to aid countries which have recently emerged from war from slipping back into conflict.
Launched last year, it is a multi-year standing trust fund that has an initial funding target of $250 million and thus far has collected deposits worth $143.9 million from dozens of donor countries.