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Participants at the Forestry Campaign Edition 2021 - 2022 take part in a nursery bed preperation exercise ahead of the day's celebration activity

 "Failure to Act in The Restoration of Ecosystems Is to Fail Biodiversity and The Fight Against Desertification"
On June 24, 2021 at CIBITOKE province, MUGINA commune, RUGAJO zone on RUGENDO  hill in Burundi, Burundi National Discourse Forum (BNDF) (Burundian Forum of the Civil Society of the Nile Basin (FCBN)) joined the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Breeding to a colourful event to observe the days dedicated to Water quality, the fight against Desertification and Drought, protection of Biodiversity and the Environment, which were coupled with the World Day for Recycling of biodegradable products, and the launch of the forestry campaign “Edition 2021-2022” under the theme: "Failure to Act in The Restoration of Ecosystems Is to Fail Biodiversity and The Fight Against Desertification"

Among distinguished participants was the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock – representing the Minister, the Governor of the Province of CIBITOKE, the Hon. Deputies and Senators elected in this constituency, the Municipal administrators, Representatives of NGOs and local associations, partners and senior executives of ministries, and the grassroots community.

The day’s activities started with the Permanent Secretary launching the preparation of a tree nursery to serve Rugendo hill; filling biodegradable bags with soil/manure, sowing seeds, and arranging the seed-bags into a seed-bed.

The Governor of the province of CIBITOKE warmly welcomed participants, and thanked the Government of Burundi in particular the Ministry of Environment and Livestock for choosing the province of CIBITOKE to organize the ceremony.
The festival was graced by cultural dance presentations that made the day colourful and revellers happy throughout

The festival was graced by cultural dance presentations that made the day colourful and revellers happy throughout

In his speech, the Permanent Secretary (PS) highlighted that it was the first time that Burundi celebrates the World Day of Recycling of biodegradable products and that the ministry chose to combine celebration of these days because they are complementary; we cannot talk about water without trees.

The PS also noted that this year’s festival is five-fold – including Water Day, the fight against Desertification and Drought Day, Biodiversity and the Environment Day, World Day for the Recycling of biodegradable products, and the Silviculture campaign Edition 2021-2022; all cerebrated under the theme "Failure to Act in The Restoration of Ecosystems Is to Fail Biodiversity and The Fight Against Desertification"

Elaborating on the significance of the five days, this is what the PS had to say:
Water Day: The government wants water to be plentiful and clean. Water sources should be protected and there should be enough water to support crop irrigation.

Environmental protection:  Protection of the environment is necessary; it is a direct contribution to good climate. This is why the Government of Burundi initiated the "EWE BURUNDI URAMBAYE" reforestation project.

Ecosystem protection:  Preserving flora and fauna generates income for the country, protects crops, and reduces the risks associated with natural disasters.
The fight against Desertification and Drought:  Desertification and drought cause famine and subsequently poverty as arable land becomes barren and lacks moisture/water/rain. Disasters become more frequent, - causing human and material damage. Deforestation and tree cutting must be avoided in an anarchic manner. Trees should be planted on mountains and slippery soils, contour lines and soil-fixing grass planted to control erosion.

Recycling of biodegradable products: This is the first time this holiday has been celebrated in Burundi. People must always use products that are biodegradable to increase soil fertility. The use of non-biodegradable products causes sterility of the soil.

Participants started off the celebration with preparation of biodegradable sacks for tree nursery bedsEnding his speech, the PS emphasised that the intention of the celebrations is to remind Burundi citizens to implement measures taken by the Government and its partners. He called on CSOs/NGOs/CBOs to come to the aid of the population in the preservation of nature by facilitating the digging of contour lines and planting trees on all mountains in order to fight against erosion and deforestation. He also thanked the partners who gave their financial or technical support for the celebration to take place.

The participation of Burundi NDF (FCBN) and CSOs in the activities and meetings organized by the Ministry in charge of environment provides a platform for Civil Society participation, support and representation of grassroots in the strengthening of environmental governance and the protection of ecosystems. Civil Society helps the government to realise inadequacies and realign policies for better management and protection of the environment. The overarching challenge of CSOs today is funding and Burundi NDF/FCBN is not spared. Once the FCBN has funds, it could develop projects to help the government overcome these shortcomings.

Author: Fabrice AHISHAKIYE
National Technical Expert – Burundi NDF

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