IUCN extends a warm welcome to the Republic of Burundi, which has officially announced its decision to become a Member of IUCN by endorsing the IUCN Statutes. The Ministry for Water, Environment, Land Management and Urban Development confirmed the Government’s decision and has designated the Burundian Office for the Protection of the Environment (OBPE) as its liaison with the IUCN Secretariat.
Located in Central Africa between the Democratic Republic of Congo (to the west), Rwanda (to the north) and Tanzania (to the south and east), Burundi has a surface area of 27,834 km² including the 2,634 km² that make up part of Lake Tanganyika. Its population is estimated at around 10 million, i.e. an average density of 300 inhabitants per km².
Its landscape is made up of a combination of hard and soft rocks, the result of a series of tectonic movements that profoundly changed the surface of East Africa, and which is common to all of the countries in this area.
Over 90% of the population depends on the direct use of natural resources, mainly those associated with agriculture and livestock farming, artisanal mining and logging. However, the increase in the need for resources linked to excessive population growth, combined with low economic growth and the lack of capacity to sustainably manage these issues, are the main factors contributing to environmental degradation and the country’s increasing vulnerability to climate change.
“IUCN warmly welcomes the Government of Burundi's membership of IUCN and undertakes to support Burundi in its efforts to achieve the sustainable management of its environment as well as the conservation of its natural resources” says Professor Aimé Joseph Nianogo, IUCN Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
In order to guarantee the conservation of natural ecosystems, Burundi, a member of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, has ratified several international conventions including: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Ramsar Convention, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (ACCNNR), the World Heritage Convention (UNESCO), the Washington Convention (CITES), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In 1997, the Government of the Republic of Burundi adopted both a National Strategy for the Environment and an Environmental Action Plan, aimed at achieving its objective of conserving Burundi’s biodiversity and managing it in a sustainable manner. In 2004, a National Strategy and an Action Plan for capacity building in biodiversity were drawn up and have since been implemented. The private sector and several non-governmental organizations also play a key role in Burundi’s institutional conservation action plan.
“Nature conservation in Burundi continues to ensure the preservation of our biodiversity for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits provided by natural resources, and is the basis for resilience against climate change. We expect to see this reality reinforced and consolidated in the coming years", commented Mr. Mohamed Feruzi, Director General, Burundian Office for the Protection of the Environment.
The Republic of Burundi joins five non-governmental organizations that are already Members of IUCN: the Burundian Association for the Protection of Birds [Association Burundaise pour la Protection des Oiseaux, ABO], the Association for the Protection of Natural Resources for the Well-being of the Population in Burundi [Association Protection des Ressources Naturelles pour le Bien-Etre de la Population au Burundi], the Tubane de Gikuzi Association [Association Tubane de Gikuzi], the Burundian Nile Discourse Forum [Forum Burundais de la Société Civile du Bassin du Nil] and the Burundian Organization for the Defence of the Environment [Organisation de Défense de l`Environnement au Burundi]. In addition, the Burundi National Committee of IUCN Members was officially recognised by the IUCN Council at its 83rd meeting, held in May 2014.
In joining the Union, Burundi aims to strengthen its commitment to the protection of its environment and the sustainable development of its natural resources. More specifically, the Burundian Office for the Protection of the Environment plans to maintain its conservation strategy, benefiting from IUCN’s expertise, in particular to develop its programme funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which addresses issues related to biodiversity and protected areas, land degradation, the conservation of aquatic resources and the sustainable management of forests.
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