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Climate Change Profile: Burundi

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Introduction

This climate change profile is designed to help integrate climate actions into development activities. It complements the publication ‘Climate-smart = Future-Proof! – Guidelines for Integrating climate-smart actions into development policies and activities’ and provides answers to some of the questions that are raised in the step-by-step approach in these guidelines.
The current and expected effects of climate change differ locally, nationally and regionally. The impacts of climate change effects on livelihoods, food and water security, ecosystems, infrastructure etc. differ per country and region as well as community and individual, with gender a particularly important vulnerability factor. This profile aims to give insight in the climate change effects and impacts in Burundi, with particular attention for food security and water.
It also sheds light on the policies, priorities and commitments of the government in responding to climate change and important climate-relevant activities that are being implemented, including activities being internationally financed.

Summary

Burundi is a small, landlocked country with abundant natural resources, especially minerals and hydropower potential, but years of conflict have severely damaged its economic structure and contributed to widespread poverty 1 2.
Agriculture (mainly rain-fed) is its primary economic sector, employing 90% of its inhabitants3. The country is densely populated, has a high population growth, and yet only 36% of the country is arable4. To realise its food security objectives, it must boost its agricultural productivity, which is the lowest in the region. The projected impact of climate change will further threaten food security and water availability. The risks are highest in the north and northeast of the country which are already vulnerable to rainfall shortages and in some zones soil erosion, and in the western Imbo plains which experience both rainfall shortages and floods (see Map 1). Food security risks are highest during the ‘long dry season’, which has increasingly extended during past decades (May-September) and will be getting drier and hotter due to climate change. Extreme floods and droughts are estimated to result in a yield decline of 5-25% in coming decades5 and reduce long-term growth by 2.4% of GDP per year6.