WWF-EARPO has moved from a project to programme approach where the focus is on addressing conservation issues at an ecoregional level. This means ‘scaling up’ to focus not only on the people dependent on a particular landscape for them to use available resources more sustainably, but also work to ensure that institutional structures and policies are in place to enable them to use these resources sustainably at present and in the future.

The objective of the WWF-EARPO policy programme is that by 2010, at least five countries within eastern Africa and two regional policy and institutional frameworks are supportive of sustainable development and equitable sharing of the benefits from natural resources.

WWF-EARPO supports trans-boundary initiatives for biodiversity protection and promotion of common management systems for shared ecosystems through promotion of dialogue and collaborative mechanisms. The coming into effect of the new East African Community protocol on natural resource management augments conservation initiatives promoted by WWF-EARPO in the region.

Central to this new way of working is the need to understand how policies and institutions at the national, regional and international level constrain or enable our conservation programmes, and thereafter to address them as part of the programmes.

The WWF-EARPO policy programme represents a radical shift from a focus on direct influence on conservation and natural resource management related policies to a holistic approach that in addition, looks at the relevant macro-economic and sectoral policies that have or are likely to have an impact on the management of the environment. Such policy instruments include those relating to agriculture, trade, investment and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) among others.