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Page created by
Florent Martin23 June 2015


Burundi is a fragile state. It suffers from a high birth rate and a high density of inhabitants whereas development was weakening by civil war. The country faces many challenges in terms of economic and political governance. Two out of three people live under the poverty line. The economy depends on the agricultural sector which is performing poorly.


Cooperation between Burundi and European Union is based on four sectors, in accordance with the Growth Strategy Paper (Fr): rural development and nutrition, health, rule of law and energy. You can find the Multiannual Indicative Program for cooperation here. A National Adaptation Plan to climatic hazards is being prepared. Meanwhile, some sectors are already concerned by environmental policies. The country’s needs are enormous. In 2014, Burundi was ranked 167th out of 178 countries in terms of Environmental Performance (EPI). This implies a great ecological vulnerability of the country and very limited investment capabilities in environmental infrastructure, in controlling pollution and the environmental management.


A young girl posing in field with mixed farming - cassava, banana and oranges (photo by Catherine Njuguna)A young girl posing in field with mixed farming - cassava, banana and oranges (photo by Catherine Njuguna)

The main objective in the agricultural sector is to curb malnutrition by developing the agricultural production, often underexploited. To achieve this objective, access to means of production, processing, preservation, economic recovery and consumption have to be improved. Most of these interventions will have an impact on the environment. Good practices should be implemented to allow long term improvement. Adaptation to climate change will aim to be a crucial point of environmental assessments.

Environmental issues lie mainly in the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of exploitable natural resources mainly soils and forests. The interventions financed by the EU will be designed so that the implementation of the two Specific Purposes (strengthening public service and access to means of production) fully incorporate these issues, for example by encouraging the improvement of organic fertility soils and sustainable land management; sustainable management of wood energy; avoid excessive use of chemical fertilizers, the river pollution and the associated negative impacts on health and environment.

Hospital in Burundi - elisemertens89 on PixabayHospital in Burundi - elisemertens89 on Pixabay

Health is also a focal sector, closely linked to agriculture in the environmental field. Water and sanitation are considered as key elements in terms of health but also in terms of nutrition (You can read the National Health Development Plan). Interventions should include environmental concerns, particularly regarding waste management and waste water.

Energy is considered as a major sector for economic growth. The availability of energy in sufficient quantity and quality is one of the key conditions to meet the objectives in agriculture, mining industry or health sector. Today, 90% of the energy for households comes from wood which leads to important pressure on the environment. Sustainable energies like solar, geothermal or wind are poorly developed. The preparation of a Master Plan for Energy is expected.

Environmental issues lie mainly in the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of exploitable natural resources, mainly forests (You might find more information on the Forest Law Enforcement on Governance and Trade Group). As a result, the principal challenges are concerning the land use and the adaptation to climate change. Interventions of the European Union aim to offer solutions mainstreaming the impact of high variability of climate. Encourage the development of renewable energies will also be an objective.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interests of knowledge sharing and capacity development and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organisation.

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