Burkina Faso


Operation: Opération: Burkina Faso



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Key Figures

2020 year-end results
828,000 IDPs (77% of the total IDP population) were individually registered
185,450 individuals at risk of statelessness received civil status and identity documentation
129,752 IDP and host community members received shelter assistance
86,047 vulnerable refugees and IDPs received cash assistance
43,575 IDPs and host community members were provided with core relief items
20,282 refugees and asylum-seekers were registered
5,161 persons at heightened risk were identified and assisted through protection monitoring
614 people from the Government, humanitarian actors and protection committees were trained in Camp Coordination Camp Management (CCCM)
2021 planning figures
247,500 people of concern to UNHCR will receive shelter support
24,000 monitoring missions will be conducted and recorded
3,000 children will be enrolled in primary education
1,000 long-term or permanent shelters will be provided to people of concern to UNHCR
630 survivors of reported gender-based violence incidents will receive medical assistance
100% of people of concern to UNHCR will have a valid identity document

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2020 1,095,275
2019 585,935
2018 72,195


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Burkina Faso

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2020 {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"budget":[21.67917582,24.785447776999998,24.650995690000002,30.51425102,80.66074024,91.16157688],"expenditure":[14.30327322,16.88336426,13.814450850000002,20.02836585,70.10013438,null]} {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"p1":[20.97155543,24.274910527,24.147881350000002,18.03004102,22.53855259,38.62591248],"p2":[0.70762039,0.51053725,0.50311434,0.436361,0.379848,0.379847],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,12.047849,57.74233965,52.1558174]} {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"p1":[14.06146278,16.55595915,13.589716800000001,13.05374841,17.93760279,null],"p2":[0.24181044000000002,0.32740511,0.22473405,0.22207063,0.18699329,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,6.752546809999999,51.9755383,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021

Operational context

In 2020, an already complex humanitarian situation evolved dramatically with a convergence of crises, including armed conflict with attacks and violence against civilians, extreme poverty, food insecurity, hazards from climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, over 1 million people were internally displaced by the end of the year, making Burkina Faso one of the fastest growing displacement and protection crisis in the world.

Internal displacement occurred increasingly towards urban centres leading to overcrowding, competition over scarce resources, and social tensions. The outbreak of COVID-19 and the rainy season increased the risks and hazards to IDPs, most of whom lived in the open, in public buildings, or in overcrowded host families. COVID-19 prevention measures included movement and gathering restrictions, as well as land border closures, which slowed down the response to the crisis.

UNHCR strengthened its operational presence to provide an appropriate and timely response to these increased needs.

Despite the internal turmoil, the Government continued to generously host over 20,282 refugees and asylum-seekers, mostly from Mali and living in the Sahel region. Following growing insecurity, repeated attacks, and ultimatums in refugee camps (Mentao camp near Djibo, and Goudoubo camp near Dori), refugees fled to the neighbouring towns of Djibo, Dori and Gorom-Gorom, where they lived alongside other IDPs and host communities.

As part of the revised memorandum of understanding between UNHCR and the Government on the safety of the camps, national authorities reinforced security in and around Goudoubo, with more personnel and increased patrols. Subsequently, UNHCR rehabilitated the camps and reconstructed shelters, allowing refugees to voluntarily return from Dori, Djibo and Gorom-Gorom.

Population trends

There were over 1 million IDPs by the end of the year, almost doubling the 2019 figure of 560,000 according to the Conseil National de Secours d'Urgence et de Réhabilitation (CONASUR). Women and children represented about 53% and 55% respectively. There were also 20,282 refugees and asylum-seekers. More than 4,400 Malian refugees voluntarily repatriated with the support of UNHCR, while continued instability in Mali led to the arrival of 1,582 asylum-seekers who have been registered with the support of UNHCR.

Some 2 million people are estimated to be at risk of statelessness.

Key achievements

  • UNHCR supported CONASUR with the identification and enrolment of IDPs, through trainings and technical supplies. UNHCR strengthened the capacity of the Government and supported the electronic registration and profiling of 828,000 IDPs (77% of all IDPs registered by CONASUR).
  • UNHCR also reinforced protection monitoring activities in the eight most affected regions where 94% of IDPs are located. UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council established “Project 21”, a regional protection monitoring initiative to ensure access to better quality data to inform large-scale response and advocacy. In total, 5,161 persons at heightened risk were identified and assisted through protection monitoring with cash assistance, direct assistance and referrals to relevant institutions and organizations.
  • Mobile teams provided access to survivors of gender-based violence in hard-to-reach areas and 18 safe spaces were built and equipped to provide women and girls with information on available services and on issues relating to their women's rights, health, in safety and confidentiality.
  • 185,450 people at risk of statelessness, including IDPs and vulnerable members of the host community were provided with appropriate civil status and identity documentation by the Government, with the support of UNHCR.
  • 129,752 IDP and host community members (18,536 families) were provided with adequate shelters, covering about 60% of the planned response by the Shelter Cluster. 43,575 IDPs and host community members (43,575 families) were also assisted with core relief items.
  • In a context where many schools were forced to close due to violence and subsequently COVID-19, UNHCR provided 3,190 children from the refugee and host communities with radios to facilitate access to distance learning.
  • UNHCR also established strategic linkages with development partners to support the Government in planning, and included IDPs as well as refugees into the local economic fabric through better access to vocational training, employment and opportunities for income generating activities.
  • In all of the areas of its work, UNHCR sought to mitigate the risks of inter-communal tensions and strengthen social cohesion. It also strengthened community engagement to ensure accountability to affected people through community participation and empowerment.

Unmet needs

  • Voluntary repatriation: Over 3,000 Malian refugees who had expressed the wish to voluntarily repatriate were unable to return following the closure of land borders since April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Social cohesion: Following intercommunity incidents, a rise in mistrust between communities has been witnessed. Activities planned to strengthen social cohesion proved insufficient in light of the scale of the situation. 
  • Education: The deterioration of the security situation forced thousands of schools to close, affecting about 350,000 children who needed assistance to continue to access education, with COVID-19 restrictions aggravating the situation. 

Use of flexible funding (unearmarked or softly earmarked funding)

Flexible funding received in 2020 made it possible to:
  • Strengthen UNHCR’s capacity to provide financial and technical support to the Government of Burkina Faso and enabled the expansions of registration to more regions and to an improvement in the accuracy and frequency of population statistics. Similarly, UNHCR was able to extend protection monitoring activities to two more crisis-affected regions (Plateau Centrale and Cascades). 
  • Reinforce UNHCR’s efforts to support the Government in the prevention and response to COVID-19. It also enabled UNHCR to establish a partnership with Fondation Hirondelle to raise IDP and host communities’ awareness on COVID-19 prevention measures through radio broadcasts and build their capacity to fight pandemic-related rumors and misinformation.

Working environment

Burkina Faso is experiencing an unprecedented and complex humanitarian crisis characterized by violent attacks, violations of human rights, weakened social bonds between some ethnic groups and increasing socio-economic disparities between northern and central regions, which have led to significant internal displacement.
Terrorist attacks continue to be reported on a weekly basis resulting in further population movements. Lack of humanitarian access is leaving thousands of refugees and IDPs without access to protection and basic social services. Although terrorist attacks are mainly aimed at defence and security forces, civilians and humanitarian workers have been increasingly targeted towards the end of 2019.
Over 490,000 people are currently displaced within Burkina Faso with the majority of the IDP population in the Sahel and Central North regions. Moreover, nearly 16,000 Burkinabe have reportedly fled to neighbouring countries. The IDP figure is anticipated to be around 950,000 by December 2020 according to OCHA, based on the Humanitarian Response Plan. 
Burkina Faso hosts over 26,150 refugees of whom some 25,720 Malian refugees live in and outside camp settings mainly in the arid Sahel region. Of these, some 7,700 refugees live in high-risk areas in the Soum province.
The Government is engaged in ensuring asylum space, despite security concerns and the declaration of a state of emergency in all border regions on the country. However, the Government’s strategy has shifted from encouraging an out-of-camp policy to the encampment of the refugee population. Ensuring access to out-of-camp refugees in some parts of the Sahel region has become increasingly difficult due to security reasons.

Key priorities

In 2020, UNHCR will focus on:
  • the eradication of statelessness through issuance of birth certificates and nationality certificates for persons at risk of statelessness, advocacy for the adoption of a law on the status of stateless persons and the provision of capacity development to relevant authorities and other key actors;
  • supporting IDPs through the provision of shelter, shelter maintenance tool kits or conditional cash for shelter;
  • strengthening services for refugees with specific needs;
  • Increasing refugees’ access to livelihoods and self-reliance through increased access to agricultural/livestock/fishery production.
Latest contributions
  • 15-OCT-2021

    private donors

  • Germany
  • 14-OCT-2021
  • Qatar

    private donors

  • 12-OCT-2021

    private donors

  • Ireland
  • Italy

    private donors

  • 09-OCT-2021

    private donors

  • 08-OCT-2021
  • Japan

    private donors

  • 06-OCT-2021
    United States of America

    private donors

  • 05-OCT-2021

    private donors

  • Germany
  • 04-OCT-2021

    private donors

  • 01-OCT-2021

    private donors

  • Germany
  • 30-SEP-2021

    private donors

  • Switzerland

    private donors

  • Brazil

    private donors

  • Philippines

    private donors