Thank you, Mr. Chair and Assistant Secretary-General Bintou Keita for your insightful reflections. Also, I take this opportunity to thank the Ambassador of Burundi for sharing with us his perspectives on the current situation in the country. It is encouraging to hear about the positive developments in security, development and humanitarian sectors. This comprehensive approach holds the key and has to be maintained in the long run.
We would like to make four points:
First, in the lead up to the General Election this year, the Election Plan and the Code of Conduct are welcome developments. In this regard, it is crucial that the security situation in the country remains safe and stable. While it is the primary responsibility of the Burundian government to hold a free and fair election in the country, the Government can certainly consider taking advantage of PBC’s experience working with different national Governments to facilitate peaceful elections and transition. As the ASG indicated, a regional experience could be utilized in this regard.
Second, peace can only sustain in Burundi if the country can embark on a self-sustained and inclusive development journey leaving no one behind. The international community must, therefore, help the Burundian government to build capacity and support its efforts to implement its National Development Plan. Here PBC’s advisory role can be crucial. It can help to build bridges among the relevant stakeholders, such as the national government, civil society organizations, UN agencies, multilateral financial institutions, regional actors to tackle immediate political and development challenges of the country and putting it on track to achieve SDG’s and sustained peace.
Third, while the return of the Burundian refugees is encouraging, their reintegration and rehabilitation in the society would make the return sustainable. And this is never easy. This will require a lot of support and capacity building. PBF can consider taking up some dedicated projects to enhance their resilience and facilitate sustainable reintegration with mainstream society.
Lastly, building on its success stories of creating networks of women mediators and youth empowerment, the PBF can further scale up support to innovative projects and initiatives in Burundi aimed at easing tension and addressing the root causes of conflicts at national and community levels. This does not need to be aimed only at the current election cycle but towards long-term political stability and economic prosperity.
To conclude, we are looking forward to Mr. Chair, to your visit to Burundi which is very important since it will take place on the heel of the Election. We also hope that this visit will further facilitate Burundi’s journey towards peace & development.
I thank you, Mr. Chair.