About the Eastern & Southern Africa Programme

Eastern Africa has some of the most internationally famous wildlife habitats in the world including the Masai Mara Game Reserve (Kenya), the Serengeti National Park (Tanzania), the volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains (Uganda & DRC) and the sparkling crystal clear waters of Lake Niassa (Mozambuque).

Coastal Eastern Africa

Covers the coastal zones of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. It includes mountains, woodlands, and coastal forests in some 1.4 million square kilometres that together support more than 18,000 known species of plants and animals. Marine diversity is astounding: the 4,600 km long coastline hosts all five species of sea turtles living in the Indian Ocean and more than 35 species of marine mammals. These include humpback whales, dolphins and dugongs, in all 11,000 species of marine life. However, amidst this tremendous biodiversity, this region is also home to more than 100 million people, most of who live in abject poverty and rely almost entirely on natural resources.

Miombo Ecoregion

This is a large area of savannah woodland and associated wetlands, covering 3.6 million square kilometres across Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In this regard the sustainable management of water and major river catchments is crucial to the ecological functioning of the ecoregion. Flagships species include the African Elephant, African Rhino and the hippo stands out as the ecoregion species. The ecoregion also hosts the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Trans-Frontier Conservation Areas. KAZA is a joint
initiative between governments of the five riparian states. It will encompass about 287,132 square kilometres that includes 36 national parks and game reserves, a significant number of forest reserves, community conservancies, and game/wildlife management areas. There are also open communal areas serving as linkages and buffer zones across the landscape.

Africa Rift Lakes Region

The region, with its unique features, harbours some of Africa’s most spectacular ecosystems and biodiversity that in turn provide essential ecological goods and services for its human population. There are the lush montane forests of the Albertine rift, a centre of endemism and crucial refuge for critically endangered gorilla and chimpanzee populations, the African Great Lakes, with their unique radiations of cichlid fishes and rich fisheries vital to regional food security, the freshwater and saline lakes of the eastern Rift, precious havens for spectacular congregations of water birds in the harsh and
arid environments, and montane forests that serve as water towers in an increasingly water-scarce region. The region hosts three of WWF’s flagship species; African elephant, mountain and eastern lowland gorilla, most of the world population of the eastern chimpanzee; and the African black rhino. It forms a centre of forest and aquatic endemism, notably amongst the footprint impacted East African Cichlids.


Climate change, energy and natural resources management are intertwined. Energy related activities including production and use are one of the major contributors of the world’s greenhouse gas emission and hence climate change. In addition, energy use directly impacts the environment through
the extraction and consumption of natural resources for energy fuels. The environmental impacts expected from climate changes are a reality. Our Energy Strategy is therefore intended to address these complex issues in WWF-ESARPO priority areas/landscapes and to preserve flagship species.

ESARPO's Critical Priority Areas / ©: WWF-ESARPO
Critical areas of focus
Improved focus is the first critical dimension; working against the most important/urgent targets and interventions, ensuring the highest ‘return on investment’. Geographically, the plan focuses on WWF’s twenty-six priority landscapes. Fourteen of these are critical landscapes that cover 1.5 million square kilometers and require the highest level of investment (80% of the global programme framework expenditure). An additional twelve landscapes covering 1 million square kilometers will largely be managed through strategic partnerships and policy/advocacy efforts with limited direct investment (20% of the global programme framework expenditure).

Conservation strategies

The programme is built on four over-arching conservation strategic objective, providing a simplified common framework across all the ESARPO priority places and countries. Each strategy outlines a set of priority strategic objectives or ‘big wins’ that will further focus investment levels. Climate change, energy and footprint are critical, complex areas that are addressed through specific interventions (in the short term) combined with a parallel exercise to scope and determine more comprehensive long-term solutions... [CLICK FOR MORE]

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