DG ECHO´s Global Plan for Burundi 2006 aims at ensuring continued support to lifesustaining humanitarian assistance during a key period after political transition in Burundi. If this transition is consolidated it could allow for a gradual phase-out by DG ECHO and enable recovery and development efforts after more than 11 years of armed conflict.
The year 2005 has witnessed progress in the peace process and political transition in Burundi. Despite considerable delays in the original electoral schedule, the constitutional referendum was held in late February, followed by general elections from June to August. The inauguration of the new Hutu president Pierre Nkurunziza on Friday 26 August officially ended Burundi´s transitional status.
However, humanitarian needs persist. Living conditions for the population also remain difficult, with the country having experienced a decade of war and displacement, restricted access to healthcare and reduced quality of available health services. Burundi currently occupies the first place in DG ECHO's vulnerability rankings (GNA methodology) and has consistently ranked amongst the top in the world.
These structural weaknesses are significantly limiting the impact of humanitarian interventions aimed at delivering equal access to basic services. Some positive changes in the security conditions throughout most of the country have allowed expanded and sustained access to much of the population but protection in the province of Bujumbura Rural continues to be of major concern to civilian populations. The protection of asylum seekers from Rwanda has equally been an issue in 2005.
The country is also vulnerable to the effects of regional pressures and instability. On the one hand, over 200,000 registered Burundian refugees are still in Tanzania and supposed to return home. On the other hand, due to recurrent fighting in the South Kivu region (DRC) since 2004, certain areas of Burundi have again seen an influx of Congolese refugees in 2005. In addition to this, the past years required rapid interventions for recurrent epidemics of cholera and meningitis in several provinces.
Within the frame work of LRRD (linking relief, rehabilitation and development), certain sectors (food security, de-mining, water and psycho-social programmes) will receive a substantial increase in funding from either other Commission services or other donors, and gradually revert to a more developmental approach. However, on the basis of common needs assessments and key findings, DG ECHO will maintain its multi-sector response in 2006, ranging from immediate life-saving activities, to strengthened community-based interventions to support the most affected populations, as well as reinsertion and reintegration of people returning from forced displacement. DG ECHO proposes the following main sector objectives:
1) IDPs/Returnees/Refugees: to provide multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations, comprising displaced persons, returnees, refugees and host communities in areas affected by the previous conflict. Special attention will be given to children, adolescents and women.
2) Special mandates: to support international agencies in the execution of their special mandates.
3) Technical assistance: to maintain an appropriate field capacity to assess evolving needs and devise coordinated responses, and to monitor and evaluate the operations financed by the Commission. The envelope proposed for the DG ECHO Burundi Global Plan for 2006 is EUR 17 million, with a decision duration of 18 months.