1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
ECHO's Global Plan for Burundi 2005 aims at ensuring continued support to life-sustaining humanitarian assistance during a key period of transition in Burundi. If this transition is consolidated; it could allow for a gradual phase-out of ECHO and enable recovery and development efforts after more than 11 years of armed conflict.
A Regional Summit of the Great Lakes Regional Initiative on Burundi met in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15 October 2004, and reviewed the progress made in the Burundi peace process since the last Summit in august 2004. The Summit noted that the life of the transitional institutions and administration has to be extended for six months. The extension would allow the Independent National Electoral Commission to organise a referendum on the constitution and general elections before April 2005.
The situation in Burundi is characterised by the cumulative impact of extremely low living standards and the continuous deterioration of social and economic conditions. The long standing, protracted crisis has led to extreme vulnerability and disparities in access to basic health and education services themselves diminished by the lack of minimum infrastructure, equipment and human resources. These structural weaknesses are also a significant limiting factor to the impact of humanitarian interventions aimed at delivering equity and universal access to basic services. Some positive changes in the security conditions throughout much of the country has allowed expanded and sustained access to much of the population but the province of Bujumbura Rural continues to see daily displacements and protection of civilian populations remain a major concern.
The country is also very vulnerable to the effects of regional pressures and instability. On the one hand, up to 700,000 Burundian refugees are believed to be still in Tanzania and supposed to return home. On the other hand, due to heavy fighting in the South Kivu region (DRC) since June 2004, certain areas of Burundi have seen an influx of Congolese refugees. In addition to this the past years required rapid interventions for recurrent epidemics of cholera and meningitis in several provinces.
On the basis of common needs assessments and key findings ECHO will maintain its responsiveness and integrated multi-sector emergency response capacity in 2005. The Global Plan includes a number of responses 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. ECHO will continue its support through integrated humanitarian operations providing healthcare, food security, nutrition, emergency relief items, water/sanitation and protection. Support will also be given to international and non- governmental organisations active in community-based psychosocial and de- mining activities. The following main sector objectives are proposed:
IDPs/Returnees/Refugees: to provide integrated humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations, comprising displaced persons, returnees, refugees and host communities in areas directly affected by conflict. Special attention will be given to children, adolescents and women.
Special mandates: to support international agencies in the execution of their special mandates.
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 ECHO Burundi Global Plan for 2005 is EUR 17 million.