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Updated to: 04 March 2015

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Distinguishing features of the EIA/SEA system

In the wake of preparations for the Earth Summit the constitution, promulgated in March 1992, for the first time addressed the issue of the environment. Indeed, in Article 111, it ranks "the protection of the environment and conservation of natural resources" among the issues that are should be tackled by the law. The current constitution, enacted in March 2005, states in Article 35 that "The State shall ensure the proper management and rational exploitation of the country's natural resources while preserving the environment and conservation of these resources for generations to come. " The presence of the environmental issue in the constitution thus paves the way for legislative and regulatory texts on the subject. Regarding environmental assessment, key reference texts are the environmental code enacted in June 2000 which Chapter III focuses on the environmental impact assessment process and the Decree No. 100/22 of October 7, 2010 on the enforcement of the Environmental Code in connection with the procedure for environmental impact assessment.

Administrative system: relevant features

Burundi has 17 provinces, named after their chief town and headed by governors. The provinces are divided into 117 councils, which are subdivided into zones. Councils are headed by Administrators supported by the chiefs of zones. The areas are divided into 2638 hills headed Chiefs of hills.

Burundi is a Republic. It is administratively managed through ministries including the one in charge of the Environment. The latter has two institutes with management autonomy, namely the National Institute for Environment and Nature Conservation (INECN) which is in charge of protected areas and the Geographical Institute of Burundi (IGEBU) which has three technical services within it: Meteorology, Hydrology, and Mapping. At the central level, the Ministry has Directorates General including the Forestry and Environment Directorate General. Within the Directorate General the Department of the Environment is established, which is the central body responsible for EIA. The environmental compliance certificate, however, is signed by the Minister in charge of the Environment.

Relevant international conventions

International conventions ratified by Burundi in the field of environment include :

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity,
  • The Convention on the fight against desertification,
  • The Convention on Climate Change,
  • The International Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),
  • Convention on the Conservation of Wetlands of International interest (RAMSAR),
  • The African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural reserves,
  • Convention on the Protection of plants among the member countries of the Economic Community of the Great Lakes,
  • The Convention on the Sustainable Management of Lake Tanganyika.

Environmental Standards: relevant features

A study on the inventory of national environmental norms and standards legally in force concluded that the environmental norms and standards that are required by certain laws in Burundi do not exist. What can be regarded as a document containing standards used in Burundi is a list of norms and standards used by the East African Community (COMESA). Indeed, the law provides for the adoption of standards of COMESA as national standards by the Burundians Bureau of Standards. (PAANEEAC, 2011) Inventory of environmental norms and standards in Central Africa.

Country specific terms or acronyms

INECN = National Institute for Conservation and Environment, Nature

IGEBU = Geographical Institute of Burundi