International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Burundi

    Article 35 of the Constitution of Burundi states: “the State assures the good administration and rational exploitation of the country's natural resources, all in preserving the environment and the conservation of these resources for future generations”.

    Article 280 reads: “agreements authorizing toxic waste storage and the storage of other materials detrimental to the environment are prohibited”.

    The Ministry of Water, Environment, and Urban Planning oversees the implementation of national environmental protection and management policies and the promotion, protection, and sustainable management of the environment in Burundi.

    The Burundian Office for Environment Protection (OBPE) also monitors and ensures sustainable management of the environment in general, and natural resources in particular, in all national development. The OBPE is responsible for:

  • Ensuring compliance with the Water Code, the Forest Code, the Environment Code and issues related to the protection of the environment
  • Environmental legislative acts (laws, codes, government resolutions equivalent to laws, National Assembly resolutions)
  • Monitoring and evaluating development programs to ensure compliance with environmental standards in the planning and execution of all development projects that may have a negative impact on the environment
  • Ensuring the implementation of obligations arising from conventions and agreements

Featured Legislation

2000: The Environment Code (Law No 1/010) was passed, setting basic rules to protect and manage the environment against all forms of degradation.

2010: Decree No 100/22 (on the procedure for environmental impact assessments) was signed into force, determining the conditions and modalities of implementation of the environmental impact assessment procedure, as laid down in the Environment Code.

2011: Law No 1/10 (on the establishment and management of protected
areas) was signed, creating measures to ​​protect areas when the conservation of fauna, flora, soil, atmosphere, water and, in general, the natural environment presents a special interest.

2011: Revisions to The Burundi Land Code (Law No 1/13) were made, laying down the rules which determine the land rights recognized or recognizable on all the lands situated on the national territory.

2012: The Water Code (Law No 1/02) was enacted, establishing basic rules and an institutional framework to ensure rational and sustainable management of water resources, amenities, and hydraulic public interest works.

2013: The Mining Code (Law No 1/21) was approved to oversee prospecting, research, industrial and artisanal exploitation, processing, holding, transport and trade operations as well as the closure of mines, mineral or fossil substances, thermal waters and quarry products.

2015: The National action Plan for sustainable pesticide use in the Republic of Bulgaria was created. This National Action Plan describes the way in which Bulgaria will ensure implementation of the requirements in this sphere. It defines the objectives, measures, schedules and indicators for the reduction of risks and impact of the use of pesticides on human health and the environment. Pursuant to the requirements of the Directive, it sets out the actions to be taken to encourage integrated pest management and alternative approaches or technologies to reduce dependence on pesticide use. The Directive also envisages observation on the part of Member States of the use of plant protection products containing active substances which give rise to particular concern and the setting of schedules and objectives to cut down on their use, particularly when this represents a suitable way of reducing risk. The Action Plan lists the main legal requirements in the sphere of plant protection, and specifically as regards plant protection products, including rules on their safe and controlled sale, proper use and so on with the aim of protecting human health and taking care of the environment.

2015: The Burundi Social Protection Strategy was established. Burundi Social Protection Strategy is based on three key principles for its implementation. These are: social protection is for all, with particular attention to the poorest and most vulnerable; social protection is a multisectoral agenda that requires partnership; the strategy will count for nothing without implementation structures.

2016: Revisions to the Forest Code (Law No 1/07) were made to establish a harmonious relationship between the need to protect ecosystems and forest resources on the one hand, and the economic, environmental, cultural and social needs of the population on the other hand.

2020: The National Drought Control Plan in Burundi (PNS Burundi) was tabled. The national drought plan is a national cross-sectoral plan for Burundi, for the period 2020-2030, aimed at setting up a reliable and functional system to deal with the problem of drought and to reduce the country's vulnerability to drought by taking account of vulnerable groups including women and children. The Plan specifically aims to: (i) put in place drought monitoring and early warning systems; (ii) assess vulnerability and risks related to drought; and (iii) implement measures to better respond to drought and limit its impacts. In short, it sees itself preparing people, communities and ecosystems for effective resilience. More specifically, the national drought plan will make it possible to identify the key factors of current and future vulnerability in different sectors and prioritize the mitigation and adaptation options to be implemented; to propose the structuring investments necessary to improve the adaptation and resilience capacities of communities, in particular women and children and other vulnerable groups in order to protect them against the current and future impacts of drought; to propose an appropriate political and institutional framework for effective drought management, women's access to decision-making bodies and economic and political governance mechanisms, including peace and security.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • Burundi’s Environment Minister, Emmanuel Niyonkuru, was killed on New Year’s Eve in 2016: In what appears to be an assassination, according to political commentators and environmental activists. President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term in office has resulted in hundreds of people being killed in social unrest. Burundi‘s history of political conflict revolves around issues of access to land for agriculture. Some environmental activists believe that the key to the country’s political stability hinges on resolving outstanding disputes over rural land. Human rights have been violated due to traditional laws and customs that discriminate against women‘s ownership of land and other fixed assets. There are also allegations that the President has used his power to increase investments in mining activities and the extraction of petroleum, driving conflict over natural resources.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, and Livestock: https://burundi.gov.bi/gouvernement/