The new Permanent Representative of Burundi to UN-Habitat, H.E. Ms. Emmerence Ntahonkuriye, today presented her credentials to the Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos.
Dr. Clos (left) receives the credentials from H.E. Ms. Ntahonkuriye.
Dr. Clos briefed the envoy on UN-Habitat’s programmes in Burundi. He stated that UN-Habitat has been very active in countries in the Great Lakes region, which include Burundi, on issues related to land and property rights and displacement.
He said that UN-Habitat is also supporting the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) which has its headquarters in Bujumbura, Burundi. The objective of the programme is to provide a comprehensive set of activities to address issues related to securing access to land and property, including recovery of original land and properties by returning refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in July 2009 between UN-Habitat and the ICGLR Secretariat and four initial countries have been selected to start implementing the project, including Burundi.
Dr. Clos said that UN-Habitat is also looking at options to formulate and implement a land disputes resolution programme such as the one currently implemented in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Ms. Ntahonkuriye informed Dr. Clos that Burundi is now a very peaceful country and that the economy is improving. She said that the country successfully held its presidential elections in June 2010.
The envoy stated that the country was eliminating slums without mass eviction of slum dwellers. Rather, it assists land owners to construct houses, some of which are rented out to other citizens.
An engineer by profession, Ms. Ntahonkuriye pointed out that one of the challenges facing the country was the development of the energy sector, noting that the country needed money to build dams since there were many rivers there.
The envoy stated that Burundi wants to integrate fully into the East African Community (EAC), and pointed that the President of Burundi, H.E. Pierre Nkurunziza, is currently the Chairman of the Summit of the East African Community. The EAC is the regional intergovernmental organization involving Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The Executive Director presented Ms. Ntahonkuriye some very important publications by UN-Habitat. The envoy expressed appreciation to Dr. Clos for the publications and for the reception accorded her.