Speaker Events - Monday, July 16, 2012
Landgren: Next 3 Years Could Determine Burundi’s Future
“Burundi has the opportunity to be an extraordinary success, and whether it is or not may be determined in the next three years,” said Karin Landgren, the outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Burundi, during an IPI event on July 16, 2012. “So this is the place to watch, and this is the time to watch it.”
“Two weeks ago, Burundi celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence. For Burundi’s diplomatic partners, there was particular interest in what President Nkurunziza had to say on that day because the 50th has been heralded as a new beginning, a fresh opening to reconciliation and national unity.”
Ms. Landgren served as SRSG for Burundi and Head of the UN’s Office in Burundi (BNUB) for 18 months, from January 2011 to July 2012. In her presentation, she explained the challenges facing Burundi in 2012, what she calls a pivotal year in Burundi’s history.
“There are huge, long-term threats to Burundi. This is, depending how you count, the world’s third poorest or the world’s fifth poorest country.” The Burundian population faces an array of problems, including land shortages, a severe overpopulation issue, susceptibility to climate change, and dependency on a failing agricultural system.
Despite these issues, Ms. Landgren sees Burundi, a nation recovering from civil war, as relatively stable in terms of security. “It’s quite ironic that most of Burundi’s negative press lately has been over security.”
“The UN mission’s current mandate [in Burundi] runs until February 2013,” she said. In 2010/2011, Burundi transitioned successfully from a peacekeeping mission to a smaller special political mission. “This phase is generally seen as the last one of intensified political support before Burundi goes back to having a regular UN country team.” Ms. Landgren hopes to see pluralism return to Burundi’s political system before its 2015 elections.
Ms. Landgren also expressed concern over the extrajudicial killings that have been taking place in Burundi. “The UN mission documented 61 extrajudicial killings in Burundi in 2011. They were not all manifestly political, and they were certainly not the sum total of extrajudicial killings in Burundi that year,” she said. “Impunity is a continuing issue, a continuing problem.”
The number of extrajudicial killings in Burundi has decreased in 2012, perhaps in response to the Security Council’s resolution in December of 2011 that called for an end to such acts in the nation.
“The UN has been discussing transitional justice with Burundi since 2006. In 2009, there was quite an important national consultation process, which was tripartite: government, UN, and civil society.” The process showed that most Burundians want a transitional justice process to take place. But this process seems to have slowed down since.
“There is not a complete consensus in the international community about the outlook for Burundi. The glass is half empty or half full. What is going to be very important is that the international community as a whole encourage Burundi to pursue the reforms, to pursue the reconciliation that are vital and not to abandon the country on the basis that it’s gotten through its bad times, so it no longer needs us as much as it did. That would be the wrong thing to do at this point.”
The event was moderated by Warren Hoge, IPI Senior Adviser for External Relations.
Listen to Global Observatory interview with Karin Landgren >>
The Global Observatory
Nelson Mandela: Man and Awesome Phenomenon
A former member of the South African Parliament reflects on Mandela's warmth and generosity.
Ordinary Fears, Extraordinary Man: The Legacy of Nelson Mandela
As a young South African diplomat during the apartheid-to-democracy transition, Cedric de Coning witnessed the humility and power of a flawed statesman.
Key Global Events to Watch in December
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
Top 10 Issues to Watch in 2013: The Multilateral Arena
Ten key issues that are likely to impact global affairs in international peace, security, and development.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
December 02, 2013
Latin America Focus of Fourth ''Being a Peacekeeper'' Event
On December 2-3, IPI brought together 24 representatives from eleven Latin American countries with senior officials from the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support to discuss the current state—as well as the future—of Latin American military and police contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.
November 28, 2013
Energy and Security in the Arctic: A New “Frozen” Conflict?
Is the Arctic a “region of cooperation,” or will competition for its potentially rich energy resources lead to conflict in the high north? This was the main question addressed during an expert workshop held in The Hague on November 28th by the International Peace Institute together with the International Gas Union and the Clingendael International Energy Programme.
November 22, 2013
Can Technology Play a Role in Drafting a Constitution?
The effects that new technologies can have on constitutional processes was the topic of this November 22nd IPI roundtable discussion. Approximately five new constitutions are written around the world every year, and their legitimacy is increasingly influenced by a new level of public participation in their drafting, not merely by a plebiscite on the final text. As rapidly advancing technology changes the way that governments and citizens interact, what role are new technologies playing in constitutions?