The Mount Elgon Regional Ecosystem Conservation Programme (MERECP) is a programme of the East African Community whose oversight, coordination and supervision was delegated to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission. It was designed by the IUCN through multi-stakeholder consultations, discussions and interaction with the East African Community Secretariat (EAC), governments of Kenya and Uganda through relevant national government agencies, local government/districts, user groups, NGOs, private sector, local communities, conservationists and researchers.
The Mount Elgon ecosystem faces the challenge of maintaining or developing its natural resources base to meet increasing demand for livelihoods and development. The natural resource base in the landscape is being depleted, which affects the livelihoods security and undermining the security for the resources within the protected areas. MERECP was designed to address the conservation and development needs of the Mount Elgon ecosystem, among others. It adds value to national conservation and development activities as well as achievements of the Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs) on both sides of the mountain, which address issues that require a regional approach and efforts. MERECP links environmental management to livelihood security and poverty alleviation, which are priorities for the governments of Uganda and Kenya. The programme enhances natural resources productivity and provision of livelihoods and adds value to natural resources in order to address pressures currently being put on the Mount Elgon ecosystem. Further MERECP strengthens institutional capacities, policy and legal frameworks for enabling conservation and sustainable development in a transboundary context.
MERECP recognizes that both ecosystem and transboundary natural resource management approaches are crucial to the continuation of the ecological and development benefits and services provided by the mountain ecosystem to the local peoples of the area, the remote users of Mount Elgon products and the biodiversity within national jurisdictions and in a transboundary context. MERECP scales up on-going conservation and development work as well as focusing on fostering transboundary natural resource management, trade, security and tourism. The vision of MERECP is to create a secure and productive Mount Elgon ecosystem.