Burundi participated in the first phase of the project Capacity Building for science, technology and innovation (STI) policy in Africa, during which a status report on the national STI potential in Burundi was prepared by an international consultant with assistance provided by UNESCO. The report was officially submitted to the Government, and was endorsed with some modifications at a national research conference organized by the Minister for Science and Technology in January 2009. During the first phase of cooperation, Burundi consolidated a strong and motivated national team that has developed an ambitious road map towards the development of an STI policy. The national experts have taken the lead and proceeded on their own initiative with the drafting of the policy that was also the subject of debate in several national stakeholders workshops financed by the Government.
In January 2011, Burundi established a STI experts committee to define the priority areas for intervention after the conclusion of the Status report of the national research. Through this project, UNESCO provided technical support to the Committee’s work who held, in May 2012, a national consultation workshop (entirely financed by the Burundian government) to discuss with the national STI stakeholders the pilot project for the establishment of a strategic plan for STI and its logic frame. In June 2012, the first draft of the strategic plan for STI was validated by all stakeholders and submitted to the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly and Senate for adoption.
The next phases consisted in defining the future axes/ actions of collaboration with UNESCO, notably to bring regional experts together to meet and discuss innovation and the private sector involvement. The change of the Director-General of Science, Technology and Research unfortunately slowed the process until mid-2012.
UNESCO followed up on its collaboration and the country’s participation in the project with a letter to the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Prof Nimubona, in August 2012, requesting information on the new main priorities in the Minister’s agenda as well as the designation of a focal person. A focal point was nominated by the Minister who addressed a proposal for assistance in the development of the Action Plan to implement the National STI Policy as well as the Strategy and Law for Science, Technology and Research. To respond to the priority needs formulated in this proposal, UNESCO established a Partners Agreement with the Ministry in August 2013, and recruited an international expert who has been chosen by the Ministry to follow and accompany closely the technical aspects of this process.
As in the case of the six other Francophone countries, mainly in West African region, the country participated in the Global Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Instruments (GO-SPIN) training workshop held in Dakar in March 2013 and has completed the GO-SPIN survey, in collaboration with the African Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation (AOSTI). The survey is considered the basis for the definition of the action plan aimed at designing new and efficient STI policy instruments. The final version of the GO-SPIN survey has been submitted to UNESCO and is a fruitful result of a collective collaboration work involving several science-based ministries and main STI organizations.
The project activities in Burundi were concluded in 2014, with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Action Plan to finalize and implement the National STI Policy and the Strategy and Law for Science, Technology and Research. The Action Plan was jointly developed following a transversal and participatory approach by a group of national experts and with technical assistance by the international expert from UNESCO. A final workshop to present the STI Action Plan was held in Bujumbura and rural areas of Burundi. After the validation of the Action plan, this has been translated into English and disseminated to all country STI stakeholders.
As the next step involves the Parliament that will have to play a major role in the adoption of the Action Plan, UNESCO, at the request of the country, has also worked on the development of a training manual on “Enhancing the role of Parliaments in STI in Burundi”.
The objective of the manual was to strengthen the capacity of parliamentarians and members of parliament in effectively responding to their legislative, budgetary, oversight and advocacy functions on STI and to serve as a training tool for workshop on STI for parliamentarians. The manual was intended to provide parliamentarians and parliamentary staff of Burundi with an understanding of the concepts, approaches and processes of STI decision making. The manual for parliamentarians is not intended to be prescriptive, but rather aims to offer opportunities on how to facilitate the legislation process as an integral part of the governance of STI. It serves to explain the core complexities associated with decision making in STI. The manual covers the following topics:
- STI for sustainable development;
- the role of parliaments in shaping new forms of governance in S&T;
- global and scientific challenges: complexity and uncertainty;
- building partnerships with scientists;
- how to engage society;
- the gender dimension in STI policy;
- how to make science and information more accessible for parliaments:
- the role of the media;
- institutional S&T support structures for parliaments;
- national, regional and international experiences and practices; and
- the presentation of UNESCO’s initiatives in STI with parliaments.
- Burundi makes great strides in STI policy reform, 30 November 2013
Articles and Publications
UNESCO Science Report, 2015
Report of the consultation (pdf, in French)
Report, 29 November 2013
Presentation on strategic plan (pdf, in French)
Presentation by Arturo Menéndez, 29 November 2013